The Army likely will wait until next year to choose a developer for its $2 billion pilot program to privatize Fort Meade's military housing.
The program, part of the Army's Residential Communities Initiative that Congress passed in 1996, calls for overhauling substandard housing at military bases nationwide.
Fort Meade is one of three pilot sites. The Army has already awarded contracts to developers for Fort Lewis, Wash., and Fort Hood, Texas.
The Army held an information session on the Fort Meade project in the spring at Renaissance Harborplace Hotel in Baltimore, and almost 300 developers expressed interest.
Bids were due at the end of July, and officials had said they hoped to award the contract by the end of this year.
But an Army spokeswoman said a selection had not yet been made. She declined to elaborate, and officials at Fort Meade and the Pentagon did not return calls seeking comment.
Laurie Boulden, an executive assistant with Lend Lease Actus in Napa, Calif., one of the Fort Meade bidders, said she had heard that no award was imminent.
She said she wasn't surprised by the delay. Her firm was named the contractor for the project at Fort Hood, and the Army was behind schedule with that announcement, Boulden said, because the RCI concept is so new.
Under the RCI plan, the Army leases land to a residential developer, which designs, builds and manages the housing. Military personnel use their housing allowances for rent.
"It's a totally different idea," Boulden said. "They're actually conveying land to a private developer. You're responsible for everything."
Fort Meade has one of the highest percentages of inadequate housing at any base, said Maj. Gen. Robert R. Ivany, commanding general for the Washington military district, which includes Fort Meade.
The Army estimates 85 percent to 90 percent of Fort Meade's almost 2,900 units are substandard, and about 2,500 will be demolished under the program.
At Fort Meade, even the substandard homes have waiting lists of up to six months. Because the monthly stipend cannot cover rents in the area, Fort Meade personnel often have no choice but to accept base housing.
Few firms are large enough to handle the project alone. Even Lend Lease Actus, part of a multibillion-dollar global real estate conglomerate, partnered with property management company Trammel Crow to submit its bid.
The Army estimates the project will bring $200 million to $300 million in construction work to Anne Arundel County in the next eight years.