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News Release


Release No: 140-96
March 15, 1996


The Department of Defense announced today the selection of SMPO Properties, Inc., of Memphis, Tennessee to build the new U.S. Southern Command Headquarters facility in Miami, Florida at the WestPointe Business Park.

Secretary of Defense, William J. Perry, commenting on the selection, said, "I am very pleased with this site selection for the new Southern Command headquarters building in Miami. Placing the headquarters in such a vital center of regional activity only underscores the importance we attach to Latin America. Furthermore, this move will enhance the Southern Command's capability throughout the region," said Dr. Perry.

SMPO Properties, Inc.'s proposal calls for construction of a new 154,848 square foot building at the end of the cul-de-sac at N.W. 91st Avenue in the WestPointe Business Park. Once constructed, the facility will be leased to the government for a base rent price of $1,734,960 per year plus services, utilities, taxes and insurance. The lease is for a 10-year term.

"This good news means that our new home in Miami is another step closer to reality," said Rear Adm. James B. Perkins III, Acting Commander-in-Chief of the Panama based Southern Command (SouthCom) at a press conference today in Miami.

"As the gateway to Latin America and the Caribbean and the preeminent location from which to support regional security cooperation in the Americas, Miami will position us to engage more effectively with Latin America...," said Perkins.

Five offers for the new headquarters site were made, with four of them calling for renovating existing buildings. A Source Selection Evaluation Board composed of officials from Mobile District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and SouthCom evaluated the offers and selected SMPO Properties, Inc., based on quality and cost to the government.

The Panama Canal Treaty of 1977 requires the U.S. military to relocate from Panama by Dec. 31, 1999. The SouthCom Headquarters relocation must occur not later than the summer of 1998 so that it is in position to direct final withdrawals from Panama.

In keeping with that requirement, SouthCom began a search for a new headquarters facility. Over 100 cities and military installations in the continental United States and Puerto Rico were considered as potential sites for the headquarters in studies by the Corps of Engineers and the Department of Defense/Southern Command Selection Committee. On March 29, 1995, following recommendation by the Secretary of Defense, President Clinton announced Miami as the new home for the SouthCom headquarters. Criteria for the selection were based on the ability of SouthCom to effectively perform its mission, quality of life for its personnel, and lifecycle costs.

Studies on the method of acquisition lead to the Department of Defense decision in Sept. 1995 to use a competitive lease to house the headquarters. Other methods considered were new military construction on Federal lands and the enlargement/renovation of a vacant Coast Guard facility located in the Miami area.

Once the decision was made to seek a competitive lease, the Mobile District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began the process in November 1995 which culminated today with the selection of SMPO Properties, Inc.

The next steps in the process include final negotiations and the signing of the lease agreement this month. Construction of the new facility is to begin in April of this year with completion scheduled for March 1997. SouthCom will begin moving into the facility during the summer of 1997.

For further information, contact Mr. Bill Ormsbee at the U.S. Southern Command Public Affairs Office, 011-507-282-3206.

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