FMERA BOARD TAKES ACTION TO BRING JOBS, INVESTMENT TO OCEANPORT
EATONTOWN, NJ – At its August meeting, the Board of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) took steps to convert an existing structure into a facility that would bring new jobs, significant private investment and medical services to the region. The Board approved the transmittal of Plan Amendment #2 to the three host communities of Eatontown, Oceanport and Tinton Falls to allow for input on the conversion of the facility.
Specifically, the Amendment to the Fort Monmouth Reuse and Revitalization Plan (Reuse Plan) would maintain the land use concepts and plans in the Oceanport Reuse Area, while permitting an alternative development scenario. That would result in the reuse of the former Paterson Army Health Clinic, which was to be demolished per the Reuse Plan. The 80,000-square-foot wellness campus envisioned in the Reuse Plan would be incorporated into the reused Clinic, and the total number of residential units slated for the area would be maintained. Of those 720 units, 85 would be redistributed from the 16-acre Clinic parcel to adjacent areas within the Oceanport Reuse Area.
“This Amendment will allow us to pursue our central goals of job creation, reinvestment, enhancing the public welfare and providing new housing opportunities, while preserving the objectives and principles of the original Reuse Plan, “said FMERA Executive Director Bruce Steadman. “Early sales and leases are critical to our ability to reinvest sale proceeds to support economic development for the region and Amendment #2 will provide the flexibility we need to more effectively attract potential medical clinic and office users to the Oceanport Reuse Area.”
In August 2011, FMERA issued a Request for Proposals for the early lease of the Clinic, with an obligation to purchase, and received one qualified proposal from AcuteCare. Per its proposal, AcuteCare would reuse the 118,000-square-foot Clinic as a medical facility, creating 200 new jobs and investing approximately $15 million to renovate the building. Renovation of the facility by AcuteCare will also avoid the need to demolish the existing structure at an estimated cost of $1 million. The FMERA Board authorized staff to pursue negotiations with AcuteCare at its February 2012 meeting, and subject to the final approval of Amendment #2, FMERA expects to bring a Purchase and Sale Agreement to the Board for consideration this fall.
“This Amendment offers tremendous benefits for our redevelopment efforts as it will save money, spur job creation and private investment, and reuse an existing building to bring exceptional and accessible medical care to our veterans and elderly residents,” FMERA Board Chairman James V. Gorman said. “I believe everyone in the three host communities and throughout Monmouth County and the state understand how hard we have been working to advance procedures, processes and projects that will create jobs and carry out our commitment to thriving neighborhoods, commerce, open space and the highest quality of life for residents, visitors and businesses. Amendment #2 represents another important step to help us achieve those goals.”
The FMERA Board will be asked to vote to approve the plan amendment after the 45 day period in which the three municipalities will have an opportunity to review and provide comment. At that point, the Board will be able to vote on Amendment #2 with respect to this feedback.
The Board recognizes that, based on current market conditions and demand, there will be occasion to request plan amendments. Pursuant to due diligence guidelines approved by the Board in February 2012 that govern this process, final approval will be contingent on the following: 1) a statement from the planner attesting that the resulting Reuse Plan is both rational and coordinated; 2) a statement from the planner that the resulting Reuse Plan would not significantly impact the areas within Fort Monmouth of the other host municipalities; 3) an opinion provided by Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) counsel that the resulting Reuse Plan would not negatively impact FMERA’s obligations under the federal BRAC law or under any agreement with the Army; and, 4) an opinion provided by outside counsel with housing law expertise that the resulting Reuse Plan would not negatively impact FMERA’s obligations under fair housing laws.
In August 2010, Governor Chris Christie signed into law the “Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority Act,” creating FMERA and charging it with advancing the Reuse and Redevelopment Plan authored by FMERA’s predecessor agency, the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Planning Authority. The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) staffs FMERA, which currently has eight employees working out of an office in Eatontown.
Led by Chairman Gorman, FMERA Board members include EDA Chairman Alfred Koeppe, Governor’s Authorities Unit Director Regina Egea, Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry, Eatontown Mayor Gerald Tarantolo, Oceanport Mayor Michael Mahon, Tinton Falls Mayor Michael Skudera, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard E. Constable III, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin, New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Harold Wirths, New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner James Simpson, and Public Members Dr. Robert Lucky and Robert Ades.
For more information on FMERA, visit www.fortmonmouthredevelopment.com.