The Barker Circle property at Fort Monmouth — All images courtesy: Barker Circle Partnership LLC
By Joshua Burd
A developer has purchased 20 acres at Fort Monmouth, with plans to convert a series of historic buildings to create 75 apartments and new commercial and entertainment space.
According to the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority, which spearheads the redevelopment of the former Army base, Barker Circle Partnership LLC paid $4.85 million for the parcel along Avenue of Memories and Oceanport Way in Oceanport. The property is home to seven buildings, including four that functioned as barracks, as well as a facility known as Kaplan Hall, the former Army Communications-Electronics Command museum and the Main Post Fort Monmouth Firehouse.
BCP will convert the barracks buildings to residential units, according to a news release. Its plans also call for office space and a restaurant and arts-related uses in the firehouse and Kaplan Hall, respectively.
All seven buildings will be adaptively reused and are subject to New Jersey’s state historic preservation covenants, FMERA said. The agency expects the developer to invest more than $22 million for the project, which will create 70 construction or temporary jobs and 40 permanent positions.
“Barker Circle sits at the Eastern Gateway to the Oceanport and Eatontown sections of Fort Monmouth,” a spokesman for BCP said. “Consisting of 20 acres and some 200,000 square feet of historic buildings, it serves as a pivotal project for the Fort’s development.
“On behalf of the purchasing entity, I look forward to assisting in bringing plans forward to the Oceanport Planning Board later this month.”
FMERA officials noted that the parcel is at the main entrance of the 1,126-acre fort property, on the easternmost side and near other completed and planned residential projects. It also sits near a mix of commercial and retail uses, including the Marina at Oceanport, an events space known as the Park Loft and the Fort Athletic Club.
“The redevelopment of Barker Circle will not only provide premium residential units to a community that is experiencing high demand but will also generate critical tax revenue for the borough of Oceanport,” FMERA Executive Director Bruce Steadman said. “It will also activate one of the premium sites that once served as a destination for visitors and those stationed at Fort Monmouth.”
The state has spent nearly a decade focused on repurposing the iconic base, which spent more than 90 years as the Army’s hub for developing communications technology, intelligence and reconnaissance services before the government closed it in 2011. FMERA noted that the site had 5 million square feet of building area, 70 percent of which is targeted for demolition, while nearly 80 percent of the fort’s total acreage has is sold, under contract, in negotiations or entering the request for proposals process.
To date, FMERA has sold 30 parcels, while another seven parcels are under contract or have board-approved contracts. In the past two years, builders such as RPM Development and Lennar have completed residential projects at the site, in a sign of continued demand in the market.
“We are excited about BCP’s redevelopment plans for Barker Circle,” said Sarah Giberson, FMERA’s marketing and development manager. “This developer has already made a significant investment at the Fort with The Loft project and we expect to see the same level of attention and considerable ingenuity employed in the redesign of these historic buildings.”