Posted on: 03-31-20
FORT MONMOUTH - As of this week, Fort Monmouth had not been enlisted by the state or federal government to join efforts to combat the coronavirus.
The 1,126-acre fort, which spans portions of Eatontown, Oceanport and Tinton Falls, is in various stages of redevelopment. Some buildings have already been purchased and redeveloped. Others have been purchased and are in the process of renovation. More are in various stages of the purchase process. Officials say that accounts for about 75 percent of the former U.S. Army base.
As The Two River Times has witnessed during several tours, remaining buildings not yet put up for bid or slated for demolition have been vacant and unused for as long as 10 or more years. Those are considered functionally obsolete, with nonworking plumbing and/ or HVAC systems. Some have deteriorated and would require a substantial time period and significant funds to rehabilitate to be suitable for occupancy.
But the fort does have areas that could be used for temporary field hospitals or staging areas.
“We continue to support and work with state and federal officials as needed,” Bruce Steadman, executive director of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) said March 19, the day after that body held its first regular monthly meeting via teleconference after closing its offices two days prior. “Our staff continues to work off-site, using best efforts to continue the successful redevelopment of Fort Monmouth during this challenging time, while ensuring the health and safety of our team, partners, and stakeholders.”
While staff is available via cell phone and email during normal business hours, site tours by prospective bidders are postponed and meetings are being rescheduled as teleconferences. Construction on parcels in the midst of redevelopment is continuing in most cases, subject to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and other guidelines, including observing social distance requirements, Steadman said, adding particulars of those situations are the responsibility of each parcel’s new owner.
One example is East Gate, the residential development by RPM Development that turned the fort’s 100year-old Officers Housing into modern townhomes and detached dwellings. Prospective buyers can still tour the community, according to a statement from RPM on March 24: “The development firm, along with CB New Homes, the community’s exclusive sales agent, has enacted measures to allow prospects to safely tour the homes and neighborhood and alleviate some of the concerns associated with COVID-19. The sales gallery is open and buyers can still discuss the homes at East Gate with a sales representative by calling 732-523-5566.” Additional information is available at eastgateoceanport.com.
Until further notice, all regular mail FMERA mail should be addressed to Fort Monmouth, P.O. Box 267 Oceanport, NJ 07757. UPS and FedEx deliveries and/or package drop-offs should be coordinated through Regina McGrade, FMERA administrative manager, at email@example.com. Staff advising those involved in fort projects continue to work directly with project managers “using best efforts to move projects for ward, subject to possible closures and other restrictions,” FMERA said in a statement. Additional information is available at fortmonmouthnj.com.
“I could make a list of things that are interrupted, but the focus of our team is first and foremost to remain open daily, remotely working on FMERA business,” Steadman said. “During this unprecedented public health crisis, FMERA remains committed to its mission. Although we’ve shifted our operations, we’re working diligently to maintain the utmost continuity.”