Russel Hall, former garrison headquarters at Fort Monmouth, NJ, has been sold to cloud computing company TetherView, which has retained Colliers International to lease out space in the building. (Steve Lubetkin Photo/StateBroadcastNews.com. Used by permission.)
OCEANPORT, NJ–The January re-opening of Route 537 through the heart of Fort Monmouth—once known as the Avenue of Memories, running from Route 35 in Eatontown to Oceanport Avenue in Oceanport—signals continued progress for the former US Army property.
The roadway reopening is among several recent milestones in the redevelopment and repurposing of the 1,126-acre site. GlobeSt.com took a video tour of the facility in 2014.
Fort Monmouth, which was decommissioned as a military base in 2011, spans three communities: Oceanport, Eatontown and Tinton Falls. The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority is overseeing its two-phase, multi-parcel redevelopment, with Cushman & Wakefield serving as exclusive marketing agent. The property’s two sections, Charles Wood and Main Post, house more than one million square feet of existing buildings and dozens of development sites.
“In November 2016, FMERA closed on its purchase of the Fort’s 560-acre Main Post area,” says Cushman & Wakefield’s Les Smith, who heads the Fort Monmouth marketing team with Christopher Kinum, Paul Giannone, Kevin Carton and David Bernhaut. “This marked the second and final transfer of acreage from the Army to the FMERA, which now owns or controls the entire Fort property.”
In early January, FMERA completed its first Main Post parcel sale, in which RPM Development acquired the Fort’s Officer Housing property. The 117 historic homes will be renovated and restored as a mix of rental and for-sale residences. Five additional Main Post sites are under contract. Among them, the Marina Bar and Grill is already open for business under a lease agreement; Russel Hall, a 42,000-square-foot office building, is occupied through a lease with its purchaser; a site housing a fitness center is slated to be renovated and reopened; a chapel property will be maintained for religious use; and a former recreation building, the Dance Hall, will be converted to a restaurant and microbrewery.
FMERA also is evaluating bids for the Charles Wood area’s 171-acre Suneagles Golf Course parcel. The site – which comes with a deed restriction that ensures its continued operation as a golf course for 20 years – includes the 37,000-square-foot, 650-person-capacity Gibbs Hall, formerly the base’s Officers’ Club, and Monmouth County’s largest banquet facility. The property also allows for the future development of 75 residential units and/or a hotel/convention center.
Two more Main Post property requests for offers to purchase are out, with bids due March 31. The first involves a 15-acre parcel known as the Lodging Area. Land use regulations permit residential and/or commercial development. The second RFOTP is for the adjacent, 12-acre Allison Hall parcel, which can accommodate a combination of hotel, retail and/or office development. A third RFOTP will be issued shortly for Barker Circle, a 20-acre parcel currently improved with seven historic buildings totaling 198,000 square feet. The structures can be renovated and adapted for a mix of residential and commercial uses.
“We continue to see strong interest from developers and organizations looking to be part of Fort Monmouth’s next chapter,” Smith said. “In addition to the Main Post area purchase – which is generating great momentum for 2017 – a number of significant transactions occurred in the Fort’s Charles Wood section during 2016.”
Notably, AASKI Technology, through its affiliate RADAR Properties, acquired the Fort’s 86,000-square-foot office Building 2525. Additionally, all-girls high school Trinity Hall purchased and transformed a 20,000-square-foot former childcare facility into its permanent home. These organizations join existing Fort Monmouth occupants CommVault, which developed and opened its 275,000-square-foot headquarters on the property in 2014, and AcuteCare Health Systems, which operates in the repurposed, 100,000-square-foot former Paterson Army Hospital.
“The emerging diversity in Fort Monmouth’s current and planned uses speaks to FMERA’s vision for the property’s future as a vibrant, mixed-use, live/work/play community,” Smith said. “This project has so much potential, bolstered by a prime Monmouth County location. It is gratifying to witness its progress.”