Located in Somerset County, one of the wealthiest communities in New Jersey and an area traditionally lacking affordable housing, Valley Brook Village is the area’s first housing community reserved entirely for homeless and at-risk Veterans.
SHELLY HARRISON Valley Brook Village in Lyons, N.J., is the area’s first housing community reserved entirely for homeless and at-risk Veterans.

Military housing isn't generally thought of as a market one looks to for prime examples of beautiful design or historic preservation. But the winners of the annual MFE Military Project of the Year Award over the past decade prove otherwise.

The teams behind these projects have constructed new developments and renovated old communities so that the men and women protecting our country receive the standard of living and comfort they deserve. These modern, accessible houses, apartments, and duplexes also place an emphasis on community and family, with ample parks, playgrounds, and pet-friendly areas.

Indeed, these past award winners show that military housing can be just as good as private-market offerings. 

Valley Brook Village: Part of Peabody Properties, a property management and development company based in Braintree, Mass., Peabody Veterans Supportive Housing developed Valley Brook Village as permanent supportive housing for homeless veterans on the campus of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Lyons, N.J.

MFE 2009 Awards, Military Housing: Clark Realty Capital development executive Bryan Lamb has been working with the Navy since 2001 on the development and preservation of some 13,000 units of military housing in Southern California. From Marine Corps Air Station Miramar to the Naval Weapons Testing Center in the Mojave Desert, he’s seen the quality and style of military housing evolve from basic barracks to lifestyle-centric living, a trend not lost on similar military housing efforts on the East Coast.

Ohana Military Communities: With the breathtakingly beautiful environment of Hawaii as its backdrop, the 1,325-acre Ohana Military Housing complex offers more than 5,600 homes to Navy and Marine Corps. personnel and their families.

Kalakaua Community: Military community development is quite the undertaking, as this 2008 MFE Award winner in Schofield Barracks, Hawaii shows. Start with a 10-year construction period incorporating 7,894 units, of which 5,388 involve the demolition of existing stock and construction of brand-new homes. Renovate the remaining 2,506 units, 15 percent of which are historic. Next, add in infrastructure development and the construction of nine new community centers. The project, which began construction in June 2006, is expected to be completed next year.

MacDill Air Force Base Military Family Housing: With many of the highest-ranking and most-decorated officers at the Department of Defense’s Special Operations and Central Command located at MacDill Air Force Base near Tampa, Fla., the facility’s housing should have been top-notch. It wasn't—until Arlington, Va.–based Clark Realty Capital came in and turned the community around.

Joint Base Andrews: Clark Realty Capital answered the call of duty again at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland just outside of Washington, D.C., developing 201 new residential units and renovating an existing 214 units at the home base of Air Force One.

Fort Belvoir Residential Communities: Because Fort Belvoir is the flagship installation for both the Department of Defense and the Army, developer Clark Realty had to appeal to multiple families at varying pay grades in building Fort Belvoir Residential Communities. The ambitious development and 2012 MFE Award winner spans 576 acres across a peninsula overlooking the Potomac River.

Miramar 77: Clark Realty Capital again! They came, they saw … they kicked some ass. Clark Realty's demolition and redevelopment of 77 outdated, ill-equipped military housing units at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station in San Diego resulted in a luxurious community for its residents.

Lewis Village: In 2005, Lewis Village at Fort Belvoir in Fairfax County, Va., was indicative of just how bad military housing could get. Barracks-style brick buildings were strewn about haphazardly with more thought given to minimizing cost than to achieving anything that said community. But Clark Realty once again transformed the unimpressive community into a model development not just for military families but for planned multifamily development of any kind.