To motorists passing by the former Fort Monmouth on the New Jersey Shore, it’s easy to get the impression that reuse efforts are going slowly, with little visible progress to see more than four years after the post closed.
But the truth is that momentum has been building through the efforts of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority, and more concrete signs of redevelopment are just around the corner, according to the LRA.
“We really see next year as being the turning point for the redevelopment of the fort,” said David Nuse, the LRA’s director of real estate development. “They’ll see buildings being renovated, companies moving in, some tangible changes that will really set the table for what the fort is going to be in the next 10 years,” Nuse said, reported the Asbury Park Press.
The redevelopment authority so far has obtained about 550 acres of the property from the Army and it plans to complete the purchase of another 550 acres by this coming spring, he said.
One of the reuse project’s first major successes was attracting a new $146 million headquarters for Commvault on a 55-acre tract. The building, paid for by the technology firm, opened one year ago.
At a forum sponsored by the Asbury Park Press, eight local business leaders last week proposed several ways for the reuse project to pick up speed:
- find more Commvaults — additional property sales would help fund efforts to spruce up the site and attract more businesses and residents;
- do a better job of opening up the site to the public;
- foster the growth of startups;
- improve the region’s commuter train service; and
- add other missing pieces, such as a high-speed, fiber optic network and light rail service on the Jersey Shore.
“I don’t want to have to move to Boston or Austin. I love it here. It’s a matter of putting the pieces in place that will create a self-organizing system, which will then create momentum,” said Jennifer Crews, the founder and CEO of Flock, a technology company in nearby Red Bank.