The "next chapter" for Fort Monmouth, the recently decommissioned central New Jersey Army installation, is being written as 2013 commences, with the offering of a 64-acre residential redevelopment parcel in Eatontown open for proposals.
Commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield, Inc., as exclusive agent for the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA), is spearheading marketing for the residential site, known as Howard Commons. The property sits along Pine Brook Road in Tinton Falls, just one-half mile from Exit 105 of the Garden State Parkway and 6 miles from the New Jersey shoreline. The proposed development includes 275 residential units and approximately 15,000 square feet of neighborhood retail.
"Contract sales through the end of October in Monmouth and Ocean counties rose by 24 percent over the same period in 2011, and the occupancy rate for multifamily rental in eastern Monmouth County averages 97 percent, making it a strong target market for investors," noted Cushman & Wakefield's Gualberto "Gil" Medina, who is heading the Fort Monmouth assignment with team members Les Smith, Christopher Kinum, Kevin Carton, David Bernhaut, and Grace Braverman. "Already we have seen significant interest from both regional and national players, as the January 28 Request for Offers to Purchase deadline approaches."
In a region with high barriers to entry, the Howard Commons site already is zoned for medium-density housing, which provides flexibility for the development of garden apartments, townhomes and/or stacked flats. The Borough of Eatontown has expressed a preference for new townhomes on the site. "Moving this property into the marketplace demonstrates FMERA's commitment to providing new housing opportunities for the region, which has been adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy," FMERA Executive Director Bruce Steadman said.
A COMMUNITY REBIRTH
Howard Commons is part of the two-phase, multi-parcel offering of Fort Monmouth. The entire, 1,127 acre-complex - which spans Eatontown, Tinton Falls and Oceanport - is being marketed for sale by FMERA with the assistance of Cushman & Wakefield. "We are encouraged by the strong interest we are seeing in the former fort's many development opportunities - including multifamily, retail, commercial and hospitality - which will come online in 2013 and 2014," Steadman noted.
Already, last spring CommVault Systems, a data and information management software company, announced its plan to build a new, 650,000-square-foot headquarters (with the capacity for up to 3,000 employees) on a 55-acre Fort Monmouth parcel. Two additional Tinton Falls sites will be offered during the first quarter of 2013. This includes 39 acres proposed for the development of 239 multi-family units and 80,000 square feet of retail/commercial, and 12 acres proposed for 49 multi-family units. Both properties are located adjacent to the Garden State Parkway.
"At the time of its decommissioning in 2011, Fort Monmouth employed 5,000 service people and civilians, and in its heyday more than 20,000 people either worked or lived there," Steadman said.
"Its closing was a significant blow to the regional economy," added Medina. "Now, FMERA has assembled one of the nation's largest and most exciting redevelopment projects there. Cushman & Wakefield is thrilled to be part of the effort to bring jobs and residents back to the place where a community once thrived - and will again."
FMERA's predecessor, the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Planning Authority, in association with the local municipalities, prepared a comprehensive Reuse Plan for the Fort, outlining the proposed use for each section of the complex. Several parcels include existing buildings that may be adaptable for re-use. For more information, visit Fort-Monmouth-Marketing.com.