CCIM Feature

Rewarding Relocation

A CCIM creates a clear vision for a military airfield project.

While details often make or break commercial real estate projects, sometimes the best solutions come into focus when you take a step back. “You have to understand the small things to really get the big picture,” says Susan L. Goding, CCIM, a realty specialist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Omaha, Neb. Goding put her theory into practice by proposing an alternate site for a $51 million military airfield deployment facility at Fort Carson, Colo. The site analysis and approved relocation plan freed up $7 million in construction and materials costs that will be used for other aspects of the development.

Her role in the project didn’t go unnoticed: In March the Corps of Engineers honored Goding with the Real Estate Big Picture Award, a unique merit-based honor. “The award acknowledges that my CCIM skills are being put to work in service to my country,” she says. Though she is a civilian, Goding’s corps responsibilities traverse all military branches and include leasing space, managing rights of entry for environmental tests, and participating in the Contingency Real Estate Support Team, a group of real estate specialists that serves the military worldwide.

The Fort Carson Arrival/Departure Airfield Control Group facility originally was sited on leased land in Colorado Springs, Colo. The site’s terrain challenged the project, and a team of U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and Corps of Engineers personnel were puzzled trying to reach consensus. “This area is complicated because it’s in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains,” Goding says. “You’re working with many elevations but need runways that can accommodate huge C5 planes — the military’s largest cargo aircraft.”

Vince Turner, the project’s manager with the corps, asked Goding to join the team and share her real estate expertise. “At first I attended three project meetings and did nothing but listen to the various parties’ concerns,” she says. Goding then began researching alternatives to the proposed site, studying local topographical and aerial maps. Ultimately the research revealed that the site’s taxiway was longer than necessary, adding millions of dollars in expenses. Further analyses identified an alternative location that met the project’s goals and saved money at the same time. The entire team presented the new site to Army and Air Force generals, who approved the relocation plan. Construction of the facility begins this fall.

After earning the CCIM designation in 1996, Goding focused on retail site selection in Kansas and Nebraska prior to joining the corps in 2003. Though her site-selection experience was a natural fit for the job, accommodating the military branches’ real estate needs requires in-depth understanding of each project. “I don’t necessarily need to know how to fly a C5, but I certainly need to know its exact dimensions, tail height, and wing-tip clearance,” she says.

To obtain a clear vision, she blends her professional expertise with common sense: “It’s really just listening to perspectives, asking questions, and then looking at the overall big picture.”

U.S. Navy photo: Petty Officer Third Class Ted Green

Jennifer Norbut

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