Army officials are defending nearly $8.5 million in Austin real estate purchases from 2018—around the same time public buzz peaked for the new Army Futures Command headquarters. The military technology hub is now established in Austin, which beat out several other U.S. cities in a process that mirrored Amazon's search for its second headquarters, or "HQ2."
A private company hired by the Army spent $8.49 million on high-end real estate deals in Austin's "second-richest ZIP code," according to Stars And Stripes. Here is how much each property cost at the time:
- $3.4 million
- $2 million
- $1.8 million
- $1.29 million (lot next to one of the commander's home)
The private housing partner Fort Hood Family Housing helped the Army find luxurious properties for three Army Futures Command leaders: the four-star general in charge of Army Futures Command, the command sergeant major and the three-star deputy commander.
Army officials defended the purchase of the four properties as "the right decision ... just given the complexity of the Austin market," presumably referring to the rapidly rising values of Austin properties.
Back in October 2018, for example, the average cost of an Austin home was $308,355. Now the Austin Board of Realtors reports that $355,000 is the median Austin home value, a 15% increase since the Army purchases. That means the combined value of the four properties could be approximately $9.76 million today.
They also dispelled any notion that investments in Austin took away from housing investments at the Fort Hood Army base in Killeen.
"There's no impact to what we're investing in Fort Hood because of the purchase of the homes in Austin," Maj. Gen. Robert D. Harter told Stars And Stripes.
Fort Hood Family Housing was directed to find housing in close proximity to the Futures Command headquarters in downtown Austin, and the properties purchased are all within a 10-minute drive, Stars And Stripes reports. The homes also were slated to be 4,000-5,000 square feet, although at least one home is reportedly smaller than that.
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