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Proposed Luxury, Residential Community Moves Forward on Former Lodging Area with the Adoption of Plan Amendment #14

Nearly all the planned residential units are spoken for at Fort Monmouth, with less than 250 units remaining for development as the Fort nears its residential development requirement of 1,585 units, per the Fort Monmouth Reuse and Redevelopment Plan (Reuse Plan).

The adoption of Plan Amendment #14 marks another milestone for the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) and the Borough of Oceanport, cementing the development of up to 180 residential units, including 144 luxury, waterfront townhomes in the Lodging Area Parcel by renowned Bell Works developer, Somerset Development.

The Reuse Plan envisions the redevelopment of the Oceanport Reuse Area for approximately 1.75 million-square-feet of non-residential space and 720 residential units. The development would include a high-tech/green-industry cluster, education/medical campus, a neighborhood center, a boutique hotel and spa, and expansive green space including the historic Parade Ground. Thus far, FMERA is advertising, in negotiations, under contract, or has sold property in the Borough of Oceanport for a technology and innovation campus; a satellite university campus; neighborhood retail; dining and entertainment space; a brewery; commercial office; a boutique hotel; and approximately 486 residential units.

With respect to the Lodging Area Parcel, the Reuse Plan envisioned that the parcel be redeveloped for lodging and/or conference center use with a boutique hotel and spa along Parkers Creek. It also contemplated that Buildings 271 and 360 would be reused for mixed-income apartments, and Building 270 would be reused for permanent supportive housing.

While the Reuse Plan identified the Lodging Area Parcel as the site of the boutique hotel, Reuse Plan Amendment #11 determined that the Allison Hall parcel would provide better access and would be more ideally suited to accommodate a boutique hotel given its proximity to Oceanport Avenue. Therefore, Plan Amendment #11 transferred the residential units proposed on the Allison Hall parcel to the Lodging parcel and permits the boutique hotel on the Allison Hall parcel.

Plan Amendment #14 contemplates the reuse of Buildings 270 and 271 for the affordable housing component of the residential site plan and up to 144 new construction, market-rate units. A total of 180 units are planned, twenty percent of which must be affordable.

Somerset Development is noted for its “collaborative and flexible approach to planning and design, and its emphasis on creating high-quality, attractive, and livable communities.” The redeveloper says its designs are based on the principles of smart growth, traditional neighborhood design, and interactive community living.

“Somerset Development has an impressive track-record and an incredible eye for design,” said FMERA Deputy Executive Director Dave Nuse. “Somerset’s plan for a walkable, riverfront neighborhood is an ideal fit with our vision for a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly community and complements the flourishing developments nearby.”

The proposal calls for townhouse dwellings with ground floor two-car garages and two levels of living space above. Somerset Development noted that the focus of the neighborhood will be the waterfront promenade and expansive open space on Parker’s Creek. The buildings were designed to have front facades that complement the design aspects of Gardner Hall (Building 271) and Scriven Halls (Building 270), as well as the historic, North Post Officer Housing (now known as East Gate) adjacent to the site.

Somerset Development considers its design a Traditional Neighborhood Design that exhibits well-crafted, pedestrian streets and spaces with buildings that front onto them. Parking and services will be in the rear of the buildings, allowing the townhouses’ front pedestrian walkways to provide a beautiful space for residents to walk, talk, and relax. The neighborhood design incorporates aspects that allow it to take advantage of the opportunities at the waterfront, as well as the expansive open space, which is intended to provide passive recreational amenities and increase Fort-wide connectivity.

Somerset Development plans to invest $25-$30 million dollars in the project, and it is estimated that the residential redevelopment of the Lodging Area Parcel will produce a ratable for Oceanport with an assessed value of approximately $100 million, which would yield a net tax revenue share for Oceanport of $10 million over the next ten years.

“Somerset Development has a proven record of taking on and completing high-end redevelopment projects,” said Oceanport Mayor Jay Coffey. “When fully built out, the Lodging Area is projected to generate close to two million dollars in annual gross real estate tax revenue. While the Lodging Area is a residential development, Somerset’s substantial financial investment in Oceanport will serve as a clarion call to commercial developers that the Fort Monmouth section of Oceanport is worthy of investment and development. I also believe that Somerset’s upscale residential development will augment both the appeal and value of the existing residential units at East Gate, the old Officer’s Quarters, and will foster a cohesive, residential neighborhood from the northern waterfront all the way to the historic marching grounds.”

Somerset’s project will be the second residential development to come online in Oceanport, adding new residents and outdoor amenities to the developing neighborhood on the north-eastern side of the Fort.