By Joshua Burd
RPM Development Group has acquired a historic 117-unit housing complex in Oceanport, marking the first deal on a large piece of the former Fort Monmouth site that was turned over to state officials last fall in an effort to push forward with redevelopment.
The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority announced Thursday that it had sold what’s known as the Officer Housing parcel. RPM, a Montclair-based firm, has told the state it will spend $25 million to create modernized townhomes at the so-called North Post section of the complex, while developing 48 rental units in the South Post.
Under state law, 20 percent of the units will be available to low- and moderate-income households. The property reportedly sold for $7.8 million.
“RPM has been a valuable and committed partner in the efforts to redevelop the Main Post area of the Fort,” James V. Gorman, chairman of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority, said in a prepared statement. “The company’s experience in housing development and historic resource rehabilitation will be vital to the revitalization of the Fort Monmouth Historic District. We are excited to welcome the first new residents at Fort Monmouth in the near future.”
The deal marks the first residential development underway at the historic 1,100-acre site, which spans three Monmouth County towns and was shuttered by the military in 2011. It’s also the first sale of a property on what’s known as Phase 2, a 560-acre tract, since the authority closed on its $33 million acquisition of the site from the U.S. Army in last November.
The authority, or FMERA, worked with Monmouth County to secure the funding needed to purchase Phase 2 through two series of notes issued by the Monmouth County Improvement Authority, the state said. The proceeds from the sale of the Officer Housing parcel will be used to repay a portion of those funds, representing almost 20 percent of the total loan.
FMERA and RPM executed a purchase and sale agreement and redevelopment agreement in July 2015, according to a news release. The agreement states that RPM will develop 68 market-rate for sale units in the North Post section of the property.
RPM Vice President Brendan McBride was among several speakers during an event held Thursday at the Marina at Oceanport to celebrate momentum generated by FMERA’s purchase of the Phase 2 property.
“We’re delighted to be taking part in this important milestone in the redevelopment of the Fort,” McBride said. “The Officer Housing has such unique character and history, which we look forward to bringing back to life as we start rehabilitating these distinctive neighborhoods.”
Speakers at the event also touted other redevelopment opportunities and efforts underway at Fort Monmouth, including the creation of a waterfront, neighborhood restaurant and bar at the marina. Meantime, an entity owned by Paramount Realty Services. Inc. is now in exclusive negotiations with FMERA for an 89-acre site fronting Route 35 in Eatontown.
Paramount Realty Services and LMS Commercial Real Estate Vice President Lee Zekaria detailed plans to redevelop the parcel into Freedom Pointe, a walkable, lifestyle town center, with some 350,000 square feet of retail space and 302 residential units.
“Freedom Pointe will be a one of a kind, premier, mixed-use lifestyle destination that will bring an unparalleled outdoor experience to the Jersey Shore,” Zekaria said. “We want this to become a second home that people can go to and re-energize before and after work, and on weekends and holidays — to spend quality time with their families and enjoy a memorable experience. We are very honored to be a part of this unique project and to bring thousands of new jobs to the area.”
TetherView, a private cloud solution for business, recently purchased Russel Hall at Fort Monmouth located within the Oceanport section, FMERA said in the news release. The company has entered into a joint venture with the co-working group vi Collaboration Hub to cultivate talent and community involvement.
“We’re seeing a trend of technologists and entrepreneurs rising up in Monmouth County, at Cowerks in Asbury Park and at Bell Works in Holmdel,” vi Collaboration Hub co-founder Chris Pallé said. “By creating an environment at Fort Monmouth that’s conducive to collaboration, the talent in those groups is multiplied.
“The more people come together, the more innovation and ideas we can create. It’s the future of work.”