A rendering of a redeveloped gateway parcel at Fort Monmouth — Courtesy: Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority
By Joshua Burd
State officials are now accepting proposals for a key parcel at Fort Monmouth, touting an opportunity to redevelop more than 80 acres at the gateway of the historic property.
In a news release, the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority said it was seeking pitches to bring residential and commercial space to the highly visible site in Eatontown, located at the busy intersection of Route 35 and the Avenue of Memories. The agency is issuing a request for offers to purchase what’s known as Parcel B and is accepting responses until June 16.
The solicitation will be available at https://www.fortmonmouthnj.com/bidding-opportunities/open-rfprfotps/, as FMERA seeks to carry out a key piece of its redevelopment plan for the shuttered base. The authority also announced Friday that it will hold a virtual pre-proposal meeting on March 30 for individuals or entities interested in purchasing Parcel B.
“The Reuse Plan always anticipated that this property would be the centerpiece of the Fort’s redevelopment in Eatontown,” FMERA Executive Director Bruce Steadman said, referring the property’s master plan. “All bidders will be required to meet the 302 residential units, 20 percent of which must be affordable. In consideration of the pandemic and recent market shifts, FMERA revised the original RFOTP to be more flexible on the mix of commercial uses permitted in the original offering.”
Spanning 82 acres, Parcel B is home to roughly 1 million square feet of buildings slated for demolition. FMERA has long sought to redevelop the property as a mixed-use neighborhood village, with public amenities that encourage walking, connectivity and gathering spaces.
The agency has selected prospective developers for the parcel in recent years, but scrapped those plans on two different occasions when the companies opted to terminate negotiations. It has since re-evaluated the proposed development program and adjusted the thresholds for each individual asset class ahead of its latest solicitation, which it says provides for a more flexible approach to the mix of uses while still adhering to the tenets of the master plan.
“This site is extremely well-positioned to build on the momentum that has occurred to date on the Main Post,” said Sarah Giberson FMERA’s marketing and development manager.
The project would join other developments at the landmark property, which spans more than 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 efforts by the state.
That has translated to a growing list of projects that are underway or recently completed, including RPM Development’s East Gate and Liberty Walk communities, along with the ongoing development of a satellite campus for New Jersey City University. The property has also attracted developers and users such as PRC Group, Denholtz Properties, Somerset Development and RWJBarnabas Health.
“This is a rare and exciting development opportunity in Monmouth County,” Eatontown Mayor Anthony Talerico Jr. said. “The scale of the project will elevate the redevelopment effort and offer a mix of uses that will enhance the overall quality of life.”
Nearly 80 percent of the Fort’s 1,126 acres are sold, under contract, in negotiations or entering the request for proposals process, FMERA said. To date, the authority has sold 27 parcels, while another 11 parcels are under contract or have board-approved contracts.