The former Meyer Center complex at Fort Monmouth — Courtesy: Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority
By Joshua Burd
State officials have paved the way for the demolition of a 750,000-square-foot former research complex at Fort Monmouth, allowing them to market a larger 36-acre site on the property to prospective developers.
The parcel, located in the Tinton Falls section of the sprawling fort property, includes a dilapidated set of buildings known as the Myer Center and the former Night Vision Lab, state officials said. At its monthly board meeting earlier this week, the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority approved an agreement to sell the acreage to another state entity, the Economic Development Authority, which will fund and manage asbestos and lead-based paint abatement and the demolition of the Myer Center.
The move is expected to help generate buzz for the parcel, which is near the Garden State Parkway but has drawn limited interest because of the size and age of the buildings, FMERA said. State officials added that the buildings have been a deterrent to prospective developers, noting that a request for offers to purchase issued by the authority in 2014 yielded no proposals.
In the meantime, FMERA and the EDA have been forging ahead with efforts to redevelop the rest of the iconic Army base, which the federal government closed in 2011 amid a nationwide realignment of its military installations. To date, more than two-thirds of the fort’s developable land area is sold, under contract or in active negotiations.
“This agreement is a critical step in the redevelopment of the remainder of the Fort,” FMERA board Chairman James V. Gorman said. “The EDA’s expertise in large-scale redevelopment will help to expedite the demolition of these obsolete buildings and showcase the very marketable attributes of the property.”
The EDA will have the right but not the obligation to purchase or assign the property in whole or in part within 10 years, state officials said in a news release. FMERA has agreed to execute a mortgage on the property in the amount of the EDA’s $7.3 million board-approved budget, while the latter will release the mortgage proportionately upon sale to each redeveloper.
“The EDA is excited for the opportunity to redevelop this strategically located property that will surely attract one or more developers that recognize its potential,” EDA President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Lizura said. “Once demolition of these outdated buildings is complete, the momentum taking place throughout the Fort will soon spread to this valuable parcel.”
The EDA board also acted last week to award a $5.1 million demolition services contract related to the former Myer Center buildings to Tricon Enterprises Inc. of Keyport. The woman-owned firm was one of nine that submitted demolition bids in July 2017, with a contract that includes a 10 percent contingency.
FMERA’s objectives include implementing the Fort Monmouth Reuse and Redevelopment Plan in the next 10 years, creating up to 10,000 jobs and an overall build-out valued at more than $1.5 billion.