GUAM – Having built a Guam business since 2002 supporting on-base residential life and base operations for the Navy, Chugach Alaska Corporation is poised to nab a piece of the island’s burgeoning market ‘outside-the-fence’ for residential community services.
Starting with its first temporary workforce housing project in Tamuning, Chugach is building a new revenue stream on Guam, developing and operating housing for the large numbers of transient and foreign laborers expected to make the island their temporary home as one of the largest movements of U.S. military assets in decades gets underway.
Priority bookings for units at the company’s first Guam temporary workforce village, a 696-guest worker complex at the former Mai’Ana Airport Plaza in Tamuning, will go to Watts Constructors and its Guam MACC Builders joint venture partners. Chugach is the workforce housing solutions provider for Watts, whose partners also include Webcor Builders, Obayashi Corp. of Japan and Healy Tibbitts Builders.
Watts Constructors has said it will multiply its workforce on the island almost seven-fold this year as construction picks up. The company is staffing up to fulfill almost $278 million in military construction work won through early buildup bidding, including work from Guam MACC Builders’ spot as a prime contractor on the Navy’s $4 billion multiple award construction contract.
“We anticipate getting the first tenants soon,” Rey Llaneta, Western Pacific Region manager for Chugach Alaska Corporation, told GuamBuildupNews.com in an interview.
Chugach itself may eventually house its own workforce at Mai’Ana, as the company’s Construction Unit continues to pick up work and already has won at least 18 military task orders totaling $2.3 million under the buildup’s 8 (a) Small Disadvantaged Business MACC.
After any units its partners and Chugach itself needs, occupancy may be extended to other companies. “We have a list of interested companies, after our partners,” Mr. Llaneta said.
Hosting the complete care, feeding, transportation, safety, morale, welfare, recreation and residential amenities and services for an entire village of transient and foreign workers is a growing niche on Guam and a core strength worldwide for the company.
Chugach’s operations model for the Tamuning workforce village, which Mr. Llaneta said could be a viable approach for additional workforce housing elsewhere on Guam, is based on teaming arrangements with established providers in healthcare, food services, security and transportation to furnish living and community services.
Mr. Llaneta proffered that the company is open to exploring opportunities to monetize its workforce housing model at other Guam properties.
Chugach formed teaming agreements with transport and charter company Kloppenburg Enterprises Inc., health plan and healthcare services provider TakeCare, food services company Baldyga International Group Services and security solutions group G4S. Chugach itself handles overall property management, administration, laundry and housekeeping for the community.
The property, leased from JMSH LLC, is approved for 696 workers according to Guam Land Use Commission records. The landscaped, gated grounds adjacent to Home Depot on Airport Road feature 10-bed and four-bed apartment units housed in three former hotel buildings and include onsite facilities for recreation, basic medical care, church services, dining, laundry, security and busing.
Local and federal standards for building code, quality of care and living conditions, along with requirements for mitigating impacts on the surrounding neighborhood, the environment, road traffic and utilities set a high bar for developers and operators of workforce housing.
“It took us months to get Guam Land Use Commission approval and we had to go back [before the Commission] several times,” Mr. Llaneta said.
On the federal side, complete workforce solutions by contractors and subcontractors “need to be in existence already,” he said. “The Navy is looking at a tangible workforce housing solution with all the criteria in place” ahead of any contract award.
Even with a track record and international portfolio in military housing operations and base support services, developing a plan for Chugach’s first Guam workforce housing project took several months and a number of trips to the Philippines, where most foreign construction labor is expected to originate, as well as to the home office in Anchorage, Alaska.
In the Philippines, Mr. Llaneta met with Chugach’s third-country national employment agency and TakeCare’s Manila operation to establish team procedures for pre-deployment healthcare screening of foreign workers. Other medical contingencies the team planned for in Guam include post-arrival screening, emergency medical care, primary healthcare, prescription drugs and procedures for triage, healthcare records keeping and jobsite medical care. TakeCare operates its own clinics in Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and also has a medical referral office at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Manila.
Chugach Alaska Corporation has been in the business of workforce housing since 2003, according to Mr. Llaneta, and today it operates housing facilities for 815 foreign workers and 1,700 Chugach employees including on Midway Island and at the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.
Chugach World Services has for several years performed housing operations and repair and maintenance services for family and bachelor housing at Naval Base Guam as well as for Navy Gateway Inns and Suites. It has earned at least $68.5 million in contracts for this work since 2009.
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