FORT LEE, VA (WWBT) - A major milestone is reached under the base realignment and closure expansion at Fort Lee. There was a ribbon cutting ceremony Thursday in celebration of the completion of the Army Logistics University. More than 40,000 military and civilian students from across the world will train there every year.
The anticipated growth at Fort Lee is already having a major impact on the local economy. The BRAC expansion has generated hundreds of new jobs and by the time it's complete hundreds more are expected to be available.
Under the BRAC expansion some 1,600 jobs will be filled on base, military and civilian. The anticipated growth of Fort Lee is already having a major impact on the local economy.
"There's no doubt that Fort Lee is the economic driver for the region," said Petersburg Mayor Annie Mickens.
Mayor Annie Mickens says Petersburg is reaping some of the rewards.
"We see already what we never thought would happen with regard to the economy at time when many people are looking at a downturn, we're looking at an upturn," said Mickens.
Hundreds of construction workers are calling the area home while they build up the base, which means they're spending money in our region.
"It can only be a positive impact for our community as far as retail - bars - possible new homes being built with what little bit we have left, and also we have new lodging that benefits them as well as the city of Colonial Heights," said Colonial Heights Mayor Scott Davis.
Over the next two years Fort Lee will double in size and population. That translates to about 48,000 new residents. 48,000 more people living and spending cash at local restaurants, shops and other businesses.
"It's been over a billion dollars in economic impact for the area and between now and 2011 - we still have construction, we're only about 50 percent complete with construction," said Al Cruz, BRAC construction project manager.
The financial impact down the road is anybody's guess.
"As it was said the future has yet to tell us how great it's going to be," said Mickens.
The BRAC expansion is expected to be finished in 2011 the facility will see more than 2,300 students everyday - in an environment that maximizes green construction.