A conceptual rendering of an office building at Fort Monmouth, part of a planned 269,000-square-foot redevelopment by Denholtz Properties — Rendering by Rotwein+Blake/Courtesy: Denholtz
By Joshua Burd
An affiliate of Denholtz Properties has closed on 26 acres at Fort Monmouth, where it’s planning nearly 270,000 square feet of high-end commercial, technology and food and beverage space.
The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority, the state agency overseeing the property’s redevelopment, announced Tuesday that OPort Partners LLC has completed its $4.35 million acquisition of the parcel. Located in the Oceanport section of the former base, the site includes a former commissary and post exchange parcel, a post office area and a parking lot along Murphy Drive, along with a warehouse district at Oceanport Way and Razor Avenue.
Denholtz is now planning an investment of more than $60 million, according to FMERA. Under the first phase, the Red Bank-based firm is slated to renovate the nearly 53,000-square-foot commissary building to create a mix of food- or craft production-related uses such as eateries and production spaces, with construction expected to begin in early 2021.
The builder will also demolish the existing buildings in the warehouse district, post office area and post exchange and redevelop the area as office, research and development and accessory warehouse and flex space, FMERA said. Plans call for the construction of about six new buildings totaling 215,000 square feet that will target medical and general office users, innovators requiring makerspace or light fabrication space and technology companies.
The overall project will total more than 269,000 square feet, with full completion to take about three years.
“We are excited about the development program for this site, especially what is planned at the former commissary, which will fill an important void at the Fort as well in the regional market,” said Sarah Giberson, FMERA’s marketing and development manager. “The mix of uses OPort has planned is especially relevant in today’s market, and further advances our long-term plans to develop a cluster of technology and commercial uses including amenities.”
According to Giberson, OPort’s targeted uses will complement the technology companies already located on the Fort, as well as the growing number of small and large businesses opening across the property. Under the agreement with FMERA, the project is expected to create 750 part-time or full-time jobs.
“At the heart of our development focus stands a commitment to executing transformative projects that enhance the communities where they are located,” Denholtz Properties CEO Steven Denholtz said. “We are excited to embark on this project as it presents our team with a rare opportunity to breathe a second life into an important piece of New Jersey’s history and create a resilient economic driver for the Oceanport and Monmouth County communities.”
The project would join other developments at the landmark property, which spans roughly 1,000 acres across Eatontown, Oceanport and Tinton Falls. The federal government closed the base in 2011 after it had served for more than 90 years as the Army’s hub for developing communications technology, intelligence and reconnaissance services, striking a blow to the local economy and prompting ambitious redevelopment plans by the state.
To date, the reuse and redevelopment has activated 1 million square feet of commercial space and more than 200 residential units, along with civic and entertainment uses, FMERA said. Some 20 parcels have been sold and 16 parcels are currently under contract, in negotiation or in the development pipeline.