Look Inside Fort Monmouth's Business Plan

Sit tight. It's going to take a while to see the results.

Here's something you should know right off the bat: The redevelopment of Fort Monmouth is a slow process. Slow, like Department of Motor Vehicles — pre-Christie Whitman — slow.

There is a lot of filling out of forms and waiting around with a lot of veiled and mysterious movements behind the counter. And that's before any property gets sold or redeveloped. Or before a new job is created there.

The latest bit of bureaucracy that redevelopers need to navigate is the . The EDC is what we would call a business plan and it's chock full of information about the future of that 1,126-acre ghost town in our backyard. Including how redevelopers intend to replace the almost 10,000 jobs estimated to have been lost when the Army pulled up stakes.

The feds require redevelopers, who are known at the  (FMERA), to submit this business plan for approval before things get rolling.

It's preceded by other steps like the Memorandum of Agreement with the . You can read more about that .

Patch wants you to be informed so we are linking this story to this business plan that it published on FMERA's Web site.

It's a long read but you can look forward to helpful graphs, charts and maps, which show the properties to be transferred first from the Army.

Before you dive in to the EDC

Here are some things you need to know:

The plan only refers to Phase I of the two-phase process. This is especially important when you view graphs for job creation and you see a blank space next to Oceanport. The majority of the Oceanport properties will be transferred in the second phase of redevelopment.

Phase I includes 565 acres and represents plans for 537 housing units and 1.7 million square feet of commercial space. These acres represent plans for a mix of uses — retail, office, residential, recreation and more.

  • Once the EDC is approved the following properties will be good to go on the market:
    • The marina in Oceanport
    • Parcel E, where will
    • The majority of the Charles Wood area, including the gigantic 670,000 square-foot Meyer Center, in Tinton Falls.
    • Parcel B, a chunk of Eatontown that runs along Route 35 north of the entrance of the fort.

Some spending money

There is a plan to generate some quick cash by leasing the more attractive properties that will be sold when Phase II begins. See where the money goes .

  • Russell Hall, the collegiate looking brick and stone building that presides over the green on the Oceanport Avenue entrance.
  • The fitness center, .
  • The McAfee Center, which was high tech hub of secret technology when the Army worked there.
  • Vail Hall, neighbor to Mallette Hall

Rinse and repeat

This whole process — coming to an agreement with the Army over how things will be transferred (that's the MOA) and creating an EDC application — will have to be done again for Phase II. This redevelopment of Fort Monmouth is a long haul, with a 20-year build out plan, but the Phase II agreement could be wrapped up come 2014, redevelopers say.

Once that agreement is in place you can expect to see properties in the interior section of the fort transfer quickly. FMERA Executive Director Bruce Steadman told Patch that FMERA anticipates it will take possession of the individual properties and turn around and close the same day with a buyer. As required by the Army, , though Steadman says there isn't a day that goes by where potential buyers don't ring his office.

The official document, all 74 pages of it:

The Economic Development Conveyance for Fort Monmouth

If you have questions about the application, post them here and we will get some answers for you.

Mick Seeley July 11, 2012 at 06:00 PM
I'm with Jack. The marina WOULD be a great county parks facility, but for county taxpayers only please! And what about open space and parks - is that so much to ask?!
Jack Harris July 12, 2012 at 12:07 PM
Given the lack of public access to riparian waterways in northern Monmouth County it's really sad to see what is now federal land becoming private property. Is it the Army that gets the proceeds of the sale or FMERA? When Fort Ord was decommissioned on the central California Coast, the state and federal government created Fort Ord Dunes State Park and a series of public lands out of portions of the old fort property. Why wouldn't NJ and FMERA follow that model instead of parceling out the fort property lot by lot in a series of real estate transactions?
Shannon K. Winning July 12, 2012 at 01:20 PM
Jack - I am with you on the lack of public access to waterways. I could write my own op-ed piece on that one. But in this situation the whole project is more complex. The number one reason to sell the property is to replace lost jobs. This area took a major hit when the Army pulled out. It's estimated we lost about 5,000 direct jobs and possibly 4,500 more indirectly in the community. To oversimplify a long story - the Army and FMERA will split proceeds. FMERA proceeds will be reinvested in the property to update and market it. The fort's infrastructure - roads, plumping, electrical - are woefully in need of updating and/or replacement. A lot of what is there doesn't meet code. Also the property is so big (and so many of it's buildings in need of major repair or replacement) that there is no one buyer to swoop in and take the whole thing. There will be open space but because the state feels the region needs jobs so badly, the focus is getting hi-tech companies and academic, science driven institutions to locate there. You can read more about all these things on Patch. Just click on the links in this story.
Jack Harris July 12, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Thanks Shannon for the follow-up. I have been reading the stories and following the issues but it seems like FMERA is pursuing a very incremental and transactional approach rather than looking at this from a wider systems and regional planning perspective. To use the Fort Ord example again, not only did California create a new state park and public lands, they created a new Cal State Campus, a business/technology incubator affiliated with UC Santa Cruz as well as some retail and housing on the side of the Fort nearest the closest city. At Fort Monmouth, that would be Eatontown, but we already have a lot of chain retail on 35 and 36. The development of these campuses and centesr at Fort Ord involved both new construction and reuse. The real estate driven transactional approach that seems to be in place with Fort Monmouth doesn't seem to address Monmouth County's core competitive advantages in science, technology and our open spaces/waterways --- what is increasingly becoming known as ecosystem services by forward looking cities. I'd be interested in better understanding why FMERA chose a real estate driven transactional approach rather than one driven by competitive strategy or regional planning approaches and why institutions like Rutgers and NJIT aren't involved? Did they choose not to be? Thanks!
Shannon K. Winning July 12, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Jack - You have very thoughtful questions, some of which I will be addressing in future stories. Next week FMERA has said it will announce plans by the state to draw in a science based university to set up a research campus here. I don't yet have any details but the state and FMERA have used Rutgers as an example of a university they think fit for this location. I will write more about this after the next FMERA meeting. And the real estate transactions, selling off piece by piece, is part of the Army's requirements in this case, which also requires competitive bids for properties. However there were years of community and state based regional planning that went into this redevelopment plan. You can see more of the future plans for the site here: http://nj.gov/fmerpa/library/maps.html Thanks for all your questions.


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