Bell Works developers buy Fort Monmouth acreage for $15M (updated)

Daniel J. Munoz//November 30, 2021//

Bell Works developers buy Fort Monmouth acreage for $15M (updated)

Daniel J. Munoz//November 30, 2021//

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The developers behind the Bell Works redevelopment in Holmdel are buying 15 acres at the former Fort Monmouth military installation, with plans to build 144 townhouses and 36 affordable housing units.

Somerset Development paid $15.3 million for the Lodging Area tracts, which include several historic buildings.

The price tag for the new development will come in at between $25 million and $30 million, according to a Nov. 29 announcement from the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority, which has sold off 1,126 acres of the former military complex for redevelopment.

“With extremely high demand in the residential market, combined with the talents of, and planned investment by, Somerset’s team, we expect this project to be a homerun,” said Bruce Steadman, FMERA’s executive director, in a statement.

Aerial view of Barker Circle at Fort Monmouth.

The redevelopment will entail the demolition of six existing buildings – at Signal Avenue within Fort Monmouth’s Main Post Area and next to the ongoing Allison Hall project. Scriven and Gardner Halls, both on the National Historic Register, will be restored and repurposed into affordable housing units for the planned development.

“This moment represents an exciting next step as we move forward with plans to reinvigorate a place with both incredible history and unique character,” Ken Gold, an executive with Somerset Development, said in March. “We consider our contribution to Fort Monmouth’s redevelopment to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that can help transform it into a truly walkable, vibrant place to live and visit.”

Home construction company PulteGroup is partnering with Somerset to handle construction, under the jointly-formed Somerset Pulte Lodging JV.

“We are thrilled to be part of the continued revitalization of Fort Monmouth, and are very much looking forward to creating a world class neighborhood in beautiful Oceanport,” reads a Dec. 1 email from Pulte executive Corey Wescoe.

“We are confident this neighborhood will not only be a point of pride for the community, but also for our future residents.”

Seventy percent of Fort Monmouth’s 5 million square feet of building space is slated for demolition.

In October, the FMERA announced that it was selling off a 289-acre “Mega Parcel” valued at $54 million for mixed-use redevelopment. Possible uses for the space include arts, culture and entertainment – theaters, movie and television production or museums – an incubator and lab space; or research and development facilities, the FMERA said on Oct. 19.

Other projects at Fort Monmouth include a new campus for New Jersey City University, affordable housing, luxury apartments, medical facilities, and restaurant and retail space.

In addition, Netflix has reportedly expressed interest in using Fort Monmouth to shoot film, television and media productions.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 2:45 p.m. EST on Dec. 1, 2021, to include that PulteGroup is partnering with Somerset Development on the construction of the project, under the jointly-formed Somerset Pulte Lodging JV.