Celebrating 10 years of partnership with the U.S. Army and the Privatization of Army Lodging (PAL) program this year, Lendlease is proud and honored to be a part of a highly successful morale-boosting initiative for service members and their families. In early 2000, utilizing the Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI) as a model, the Army embarked on one of, if not the, most successful privatization programs in U.S. history. Lendlease, a leading international property and infrastructure group with proven experience in the MHPI business, responded with enthusiasm and assumed ownership of the first phase of the PAL program in 2009, including more than 3,200 hotel rooms on 10 U.S. Army installations. With its operations partner, IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group), they became the first and only developer to begin operations under the PAL program. Now, 10 years later, Lendlease oversees the entire PAL program, including more than 13,000 hotel rooms on 40 military installations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
Designed to eliminate the recapitalization backlog of Army lodging and provide long-term sustainment, the PAL program leverages private sector best practices and industry standards to meet the on-post lodging mission through public-private partnership. By engaging an experienced developer and hotel partner, the PAL program successfully improves the quality of life for service members, their families and government travelers.
“Our customers are our top priority, and we are constantly looking for ways to drive innovation to deliver best-in-class, long-term solutions,” said Gretchen Turpen, SVP, Head of Lodging for Lendlease. “The benefits of privatization are vast, and we work diligently to ensure that our partnership with the Army remains collaborative and is focused on long-term sustainment of the program as well as exceptional customer service. Through the PAL program, our goal is to provide a positive guest experience enhanced with comfortable accommodations and amenities tailored to our military travelers.”
Lendlease has been performing significant renovations and upgrades to existing lodging facilities for the past 10 years to bring select hotels up to the standards required to operate under IHG’s Holiday Inn Express® and Historia Collection™ brands as well as constructing new Candlewood Suites® and Staybridge Suites® hotels. This branded approach, provides hotel guests a consistent experience across the portfolio, desirable amenities, and allows all guests to earn reward points for use at any of the brand’s hotels worldwide.
In looking back at the last decade, many significant milestones have been achieved through the PAL program including:
- 2010: Opened the first branded hotel on a military installation; Holiday in Express® on Fort Polk, LA.
- 2013: The first new Candlewood Suites® on Yuma Proving Ground, AZ and Fort Riley, KS was opened.
- 2014: Lendlease completed the largest Candlewood Suites® in the world on Joint Base San Antonio, TX comprised of 310 rooms.
- 2016: The first Staybridge Suites® on a military installation was completed on Fort Belvoir, VA.
But that is just the beginning of many successes. With sustainability as a driving factor, Lendlease took on a new challenge in 2016 to deliver the first hotel in the U.S. constructed of Cross Laminated Timber on Redstone Arsenal, AL.
“With the Army as a supportive partner that encourages innovative construction techniques, Lendlease has been able to fully embrace innovation in building practices and deliver sustainable outcomes. Through our experience pioneering CLT in Australia and the UK, we have successfully become an industry leader in the U.S. for our use of CLT through the PAL program,” added Turpen.
The use of CLT on construction sites allows for shorter construction timelines, makes for a strong and robust structure, and has a low carbon footprint when compared to buildings of the same size in the same climate. Lendlease recently completed the PAL program’s second CLT hotel, Candlewood Suites® on Fort Drum, with two more underway slated for completion at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, WA in November 2019, and Fort Jackson, SC in 2021.
During the grand opening of the Candlewood Suites® on Fort Drum, guest speaker, Jordan Gillis,Acting Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy and Environment at the time, stated, “the partnership created between the Army and Lendlease, and their partner, IHG Army Hotels, is a model that can be applied across the Department of Defense as an example of success that can be achieved when government and private sector work together.”
With the future in mind, Turpen added, “as the other U.S. Military branches explore the option of privatizing their lodging programs, Lendlease looks forward to continuing the opportunity to employ our one-of-a-kind experience to provide best-in-class accommodations across the U.S. Military for service members and military travelers in the years to come.”
To learn more on privatization of army lodging (PAL), visit lendlease.com.