A Conversation with Les Smith
Fresh off extending the contract between C&W for another year, FMERA spoke with Smith about the company’s efforts to date.
You meet with real estate developers and interested parties on a regular basis. What is the strongest selling point when talking about the reasons they should locate on the Fort?
We have a unique opportunity at Fort Monmouth to create a dynamic live, work and play environment. Companies today are looking for more than just office space. They need to compete for top workforce talent. At Fort Monmouth, employees and residents can take advantage of a golf course, marina, fitness center, bowling alley, performing arts center and biking/jogging trails, all located on the Fort. In addition, we have a fantastic location – less than five miles from the Jersey Shore, a one hour train ride to New York City, and easy access to local and regional attractions via the Garden State Parkway. We are also fortunate to have a highly educated and tech-savvy workforce.
What do you feel has been C&W’s biggest success to date in the redevelopment of Fort Monmouth?
FMERA and C&W have many success stories and we anticipate announcing a few more in the near future. However, one extremely challenging project for us was the Historic Officer Housing. We were asked to find a buyer for 117 existing vacant homes. Some of the homes were damaged during Sandy and they were also subject to historic preservation deed covenants. Typically companies that deal with historic preservation work on small urban projects. The challenge was finding an investor/developer who could handle a project of this magnitude and was willing to take the chance on doing it in a suburban environment. We presented the project to hundreds of potential investor developers and in the end, we sourced RPM Development, who is now the contract purchaser of the project. RPM will preserve these beautiful homes for future residents of Fort Monmouth.
Can you speak about any new strategies that C&W will implement as it looks to the year ahead?
During the next year, C&W plans to focus on identifying destination retail, technology, or corporate build-to-suit prospects for Parcel F-1, the 38-acre tract in Tinton Falls. Consistent with the Fort Monmouth Reuse and Redevelopment Plan, we will market the McAfee Center as the ideal location for technology companies. With CommVault established as an anchor tenant at Fort Monmouth, we are well-positioned to market Fort Monmouth’s potential as a technology hub. Our expanded marketing efforts will include researching and identifying appropriate technology industry trade shows and events to find opportunities to promote the Fort. One event that is already on our radar is the New Jersey Technology Council’s Annual Data Summit.
To view C&W’s two-minute Fort Monmouth promotional video, visit http://www.fort-monmouth-marketing.com/.