CHEYENNE -- Officials at F.E. Warren Air Force Base want to develop about 74 acres of vacant land near the base's southern boundary.
The land is located approximately between Happy Jack Road and Old Happy Jack Road, west of Interstate 25.
But moving from the planning phase to the start of development will take time.
The U.S. Air Force has a detailed process for such projects. F.E. Warren leaders involved with the effort already have taken several required steps.
Once Air Force officials decide on a use for the land, groundbreaking likely would occur at the end of 2018 or the start of 2019, said Todd Eldridge, the base's community planner.
So far, no decisions have been made on the future use.
"The possibilities are open," said Col. Frank Verdugo, the base's mission support group commander.
The opportunity to develop the land comes about through the Air Force Community Partnership Program and an enhanced use lease, Verdugo said.
The Air Force sponsors the partnership so public and private sectors can develop projects that help both the base and the community, he said.
Some community members and people from Cheyenne Regional Medical Center and Laramie County Community College identified more housing for young professionals as a need when the project was first discussed, Eldridge said.
But at this point, the land could be used for any number of commercial, retail, housing or even medical purposes, he said.
Dale Steenbergen, chief executive officer of the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce, has pushed to have more housing built there and will continue doing so because of the need.
"This is a huge project," he said. "We're trying to get local developers and folks who are capable of doing such housing and bring them together with the Air Force."
A draft request for qualifications soon will be published so developers will know about the Warren project, Verdugo said.
Another step in the development process will be April 18, which is when F.E. Warren has scheduled Industry Day. The event will be open to developers worldwide to give them a chance to look at the property. They will be able to ask appropriate questions so they can submit detailed proposals for projects.
The Air Force Civil Engineers Center in San Antonio will review the proposals and decide which are appropriate. The center also will make the final decision about what will be built on the land, taking into account what is important to the base and the community.
"We are not the ones who are running the process," Verdugo said of local base officials, noting F.E. Warren will have one person involved in the selection process to make sure local input is provided.
The Air Force Civil Engineers Center then would enter a long-term lease with a developer using an enhanced use lease agreement.
F.E. Warren will keep the money collected from the lease and use it for infrastructure needs at the base. Wing commanders at the Cheyenne base will decide where the money should go, with options that range from building more dorm rooms for airmen to fixing playgrounds.
Verdugo said he needs more dorm rooms for single airmen. "We have a current shortfall. We would like to have them in our dorms longer."
Cheyenne Regional Medical Center owns roughly nine acres of land in the middle of the area the base hopes to develop.
CRMC bought the land several years ago, when it planned to move the hospital campus there. It eventually decided to stay downtown and no longer needs this triangular-shaped piece of land or the additional four acres it bought nearby.
Patrick Madigan, the hospital's interim CEO, said CRMC could sell the land outright or select other options, like building an urgent-care facility on its land.
"We're open to negotiations" with a potential developer, he said.
"We want to make sure we are cooperating on how it can be developed."
Verdugo said the base is excited about the development opportunity.
"We think it is a great win-win potential for the base and the local community," he said.