Posted on: 11-22-19
Douglas Johnson is one of the lucky few who has been able to disprove the old adage you can’t go home again. Johnson has had a personal connection to the historic Fort Monmouth army post dating back over 40 years, having worked or enjoyed dancing, nightlife and social clubs in its landmarked buildings from 1967 to its closing in 2011.
Almost the entirety of his career was spent on the post when it was active, while residing in nearby Ocean, NJ. Retirement beckoned in 2012 and just six years later, Johnson and his wife Pat were afforded the unique opportunity to downsize from their single-family home in Ocean and enjoy a new care-free lifestyle in a three-bedroom duplex at East Gate, a new residential community being created by RPM Development Group in century-old officer housing buildings at Fort Monmouth.
“My wife wanted a smaller house with fewer stairs and less property to maintain and I wanted a basement,” Johnson says. “We had been looking at homes for a year until my wife discovered East Gate. We were immediately interested in the community and the Fort Monmouth history since I had worked there for about 40 years, plus four years of active duty in the Air Force. In the first few years, work friends and I would go to the Fort Monmouth Housing/Lodging Office in Scriven Hall for happy hour and dancing. Later on, I would occasionally walk through ‘Officer’s Row’ during lunch break. My wife and I attended the Fort Monmouth closing ceremony in September 2011, which was held at the flagpole near the East Gate in front of Russel Hall.”
Homes at East Gate blend modern interior luxury with historic exterior architecture and provided exactly what the Johnsons were seeking. And the community, with its close ties to Johnson’s background, was certainly attractive.
“We liked the brick architecture of the homes,” Johnson says. “My wife loved the sunrooms and the abundance of windows. I always wanted a brick house for low maintenance. We got the benefit of a solid brick house and reduced maintenance because we pay the homeowner association (HOA) for exterior upkeep.”
The duplex home the Johnsons selected had everything they needed both inside and out. The oversized duplex residences boast wide and light-filled living spaces similar to single-family homes, with the bonus of a maintenance-free lifestyle and affordable HOA fees as little as $230.
“We liked the open floor plan with high ceilings, hardwood floors, white finishes, the large kitchen island, and cabinets with granite countertops,” Johnson recalls. “We especially liked the sunrooms on both floors with seven windows that provide an abundance of natural light and overlooks the parade ground. I liked the full basement with storage room since I have many shop tools and benches for woodworking and entrances inside and outside. There is also storage space in the attic via pull-down stairs. And with the washer and dryer on the first floor, the need to climb stairs is reduced.”
The sprawling Fort Monmouth grounds in Oceanport, with its nature, open green space and nostalgic charm would quickly prove to be the ideal neighborhood to spend their empty-nester years. The community is established with a welcoming environment enhanced by completed sidewalks and mature trees dotting the landscape. Residents also enjoy live/play amenities and services, including the nearby Marina at Oceanport, parade grounds, walking trails around Parker’s Creek and open space, as well as an expected bowling alley, microbrewery and The Fort Athletic Club that is slated to open soon.
Duplex residences like the Johnsons’ have large patios and yards with water views of Parker’s Creek to take full advantage of the picturesque natural surroundings.
“Our home location has parks in front,” Johnson says. “In the back we overlook the parade grounds, which will never be developed. The neighborhood is quiet and the neighbors are friendly. We enjoy walking our dog every day and watching the deer and osprey nests that are everywhere or the ducks, egrets, herons and other birds on Parker’s Creek. RPM is continually making improvements such as trees, flowers and concrete walks in the park, as well as benches in both the park and along the gravel path near the creek. We’re also excited about the expected opening of nearby attractions including the athletic club, bowling alley, theater, and microbrewery.”
East Gate features a unique mix of 68 townhomes, duplexes and single-family residences that differentiate themselves thanks to eye-catching architecture and distinctive and well-appointed layouts that offer an attractive alternative to the area’s conventional housing stock. To create a nostalgic, yet modern living experience at the community, RPM Development has blended the original building exteriors that date back to the early 20th century with contemporary interiors boasting expansive living spaces and designer finishes and appointments.
The overwhelming attractiveness of East Gate has added up to impressive sales success with over 60 percent of its residences sold, according to CB New Homes of Madison, NJ, which is conducting the onsite sales program. The high buyer velocity has led to the release of the final phase, Officer’s Row, a premium offering of just 8 high-end three-bedroom duplexes and three single-family detached homes situated in one of the most desirable community locations on Allen Avenue with scenic waterviews of Parker’s Creek.
Homes in Officer’s Row are priced from the $800,000s and feature 2.5 baths, spacious dining/living room, open-concept kitchen, expansive master bedroom suite with lavish master bath and sitting room and den. In addition to Officer’s Row, a limited number of townhomes and duplexes are available in Phase II at East Gate priced from the $500,000s to the mid $700,000s.