A preliminary concept plan for a proposed town center at Fort Monmouth in Eatontown — Courtesy: Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority/Bowman Consulting
By Joshua Burd
State officials are detailing new plans for a town center development at the historic Fort Monmouth property, having agreed to sell a prominent 73-acre parcel to a Lennar Corp. affiliate.
The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority, or FMERA, announced Tuesday that its board has approved a sale and redevelopment agreement with the homebuilder for the property known as Parcel B. U.S. Home Corp., doing business as Lennar Monmouth Developers, will pay $18.5 million for the site at Avenue of Memories and Route 35 in Eatontown, which serves as one of the gateways to the former U.S. Army base.
According to FMERA, Lennar’s proposal calls for 302 residential units, including 241 market-rate and 61 affordable units, and 150,000 to 250,000 square feet of commercial space. The project is consistent with the Fort Monmouth Reuse and Redevelopment Plan, which outlines a pedestrian-friendly, lifestyle town center that blends residential and retail uses, creating an inviting destination with improved streetscapes, public plazas and amenities.
“With over $125 million dollars of investment anticipated, Parcel B is one of the most significant redevelopment projects at Fort Monmouth and within the Borough of Eatontown,” said Bruce Steadman, FMERA’s executive director. “This development will be an exciting and attractive gateway into the Fort and we’re eager to see Lennar’s plans for a dynamic, town center concept come to life.”
Included as part of the long-running effort to redevelop Fort Monmouth, Parcel B had been slated for development by Paramount Realty Services Inc. The firm in 2017 received the highest score through a request for offers to purchase process, but ultimately withdrew its proposal in early 2018, reportedly due to doubts from prospective retailers.
FMERA subsequently began negotiations with Lennar, the second-highest scorer, giving way to a new concept that includes a pedestrian-oriented layout with Main Street character, the authority said. The plan also calls for creative use of open space, connectivity and interaction between the retail and residential components, along with design features that are complementary to the Fort’s historic brick archway.
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, dealing a blow to the local economy and prompting ambitious redevelopment efforts by the state.
To date, the reuse and redevelopment has activated 1 million square feet of commercial space and 116 residential units, along with civic and entertainment uses, FMERA said. Some 20 parcels have been sold and 18 parcels are currently under contract, in negotiation or in the development pipeline.
Lennar was also selected as the developer for a 40-acre site in the Charles Wood area of the Fort, according to a news release. The company has launched construction on 243 homes and 58,000 square feet of commercial space called Patriot’s Square, while it’s also building 45 single-family detached homes, dubbed Anthem Place, on a nearby 15-acre site.
FMERA still plans to issue requests for offers to purchase for several other sites, including the McAfee Center, which is intended for technology and innovation uses, and the 400 Area, a roughly 80-acre parcel slated for a mixed-use, transit-oriented development.