Redevelopment Continues at Fort

first_imgThe agreed upon price was $17.5 million. Somerset, owned by Ralph Zucker, plans to invest between $25 and $30 million in the project. On May 20, FMERA members voted unanimously to reduce the purchase price to $15.3 million after it was determined additional environmental work would be required. The former lodging area at Fort Monmouth along Parker Creek in Oceanport will require additional pilings and environmental work before it can be transformed into a new residential area with a waterfront esplanade. Courtesy FMERA According to Kristy Dantes, the director of facilities and infrastructure, on-site maintenance teams are transitioning to summer landscape maintenance mode and regularly checking buildings slated for sale or re-use, as well as assisting current developers.  “I don’t think there’s any project in Monmouth County that needs the designation more than Fort Monmouth,” Coffey said. “Oceanport has little or no control over development at the fort, FMERA does. We can say what we prefer. This designation puts tools in the box of municipalities under land use law and gives us more leeway, allowing us to offer PILOTS, payments in lieu of taxes. It helps us compete on an even keel with other municipalities.” By Laura D.C. Kolnoski “If the school was owned outright, we would get zero because it is a state university,” Coffey explained. “It’s a long-term arrangement and a win for the developer. It wouldn’t get built otherwise. It’s almost like a unicorn – a school paying taxes. I am enthused we are moving forward with this and will have a university in Oceanport. It will allow for those who can’t afford other colleges in the state to attend NJCU.”   The 89,492-square-foot McAfee Center, built in 1997, sits on a 50-acre parcel and is slated for reuse as a mixed-use technology campus. It has eight raised-floor dry labs, an anechoic chamber and a 16-foot loading dock. It has been aggressively marketed by FMERA, including a real estate showcase that drew numerous interested parties. A Request for Offers to Purchase for McAfee has been delayed by the pandemic, but is expected to be released soon, officials said.  May meeting highlights include the following.  Three fort parcels within Oceanport’s borders have been approved for the designation of Areas in Need of Redevelopment, two at the McAfee Center and Squier Hall, currently being redeveloped into a campus of New Jersey City University (NJCU). Borough Mayor Jay Coffey, a voting FMERA member, said the effort has been in the works for a while. After initially being studied and approved by the Oceanport Planning Board, it was approved by FMERA May 20, and voted on affirmatively by the borough council the following night. All three votes were unanimous.  “The proposals have been submitted to our internal review committee for scoring,” Steadman said, noting that as per FMERA rules, prospective buyers are not identified until proposals are reviewed and scored. “It is our plan to present a recommendation to our real estate committee at its June meeting.” “FMERA continues to make good progress on the fort’s redevelopment and all projects are moving forward in good faith,” said Sarah Giberson, senior marketing and development officer. “We are providing additional support to developers to ensure the successful redevelopment of properties currently under contract.”  Lodging Area, Oceanport Oceanport, FMERA Approve ‘Area in Need of Redevelopment’ Designation Somerset Development, the same firm that purchased and redeveloped the former Bell Labs in Holmdel into Bell Works, executed a contract in April 2018 for Fort Monmouth’s 15-acre Lodging Area along Parker Creek, a portion of which is located within the fort’s National Register Historic District. Somerset’s proposal calls for the demolition of six buildings to construct up to 148 townhomes and adaptively use two other buildings to satisfy the 20 percent affordable housing requirement on the property. center_img “Somerset found an unexpected problem that requires pilings and more, expected to cost $2.2 million,” said Robert Lucky, FMERA interim chairman. “They must certify hardship and use of the funds. Closing must be by Dec. 21 and we really need that to happen. It’s a very important development.” According to FMERA documents, “Purchaser (Somerset) certifies that is it experiencing financial hardships as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”  Tinton Falls Commercial Parcel  The article originally appeared in the May 28 – June 3, 2020 print edition of The Two River Times. “With COVID, my biggest concern is that we would have unfinished projects in buildings that have been empty for 10 years and are deteriorating,” Coffey continued. “It will mean $250,000 to $300,000 annually (for Oceanport).” Squier Hall has been purchased and is being redeveloped by KKF University Enterprises and will be leased to NJCU. In anticipation of reopening FMERA’s offices in the fort’s former library, plans are being made to implement safety measures including touch-less doors and heightened cleaning and sanitization, he added.  A PILOT is a payment made to compensate a government for some or all of the property tax revenue lost due to tax-exempt ownership or use of real property, often used to encourage a development project that might not otherwise be financially viable. Courtesy FMERA FMERA’s master reuse plan envisions office and research/development, along with commercial and light industrial uses in a campus-like setting for the property. FMERA executive director Bruce Steadman said the June meeting will “likely be held remotely as well,” adding, “We continue to send out marketing packets, answer phone calls and requests, have remote meetings, and push forward, albeit more slowly and with additional care.” FORT MONMOUTH – The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) held its third consecutive monthly meeting via teleconference May 20 as work continues on the redevelopment of the 1,126-acre former U.S. Army base during the novel coronavirus pandemic.  Two bids were received by the virus-extended May 11 deadline for this 31-acre site formerly known as the Charles Wood Area. Located at Pearl Harbor Avenue and Pinebrook Road, it is the last major piece of unsold real estate in the borough’s section of the fort. (The fort also spans portions of Eatontown and Oceanport.) It includes the fort’s Pulse Power Building, Pistol Range, and a large administrative structure with a high bay garage. The minimum purchase price was set at $4.5 million.  The project will include a 50-foot waterfront esplanade along Parker Creek with a 12-foot-wide walkway that will connect to a promenade being created at the adjacent Allison Hall parcel, being redeveloped by another firm. That project will include a hotel, office, and retail on the riverfront.last_img