New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan announced Thursday evening that Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) Executive Director Bruce Steadman, who has led the organization since Dec. 1, 2010, will retire.
Sullivan delivered the news at FMERA’s monthly board meeting, along with the unanimous appointment of Deputy Executive Director and Director of Real Estate Kara Kopach as Steadman’s successor. Her appointment as executive director is effective May 1.
“The FMERA team’s primary focus is, and always has been, to implement and oversee the Fort Monmouth Reuse and Redevelopment Plan and to achieve FMERA’s mission: create an atmosphere in which employers will employ and investors will invest, to maximize the jobs created and the value of the property,” Steadman said. “With nearly 40 on-going or completed projects already reshaping the community and generating vital tax revenue, I am extremely proud of FMERA’s accomplishments and am confident in its future under Kara’s leadership.”
The estimated build-out value of projects underway, or in some stage of due diligence, under Steadman’s stewardship adds up to more than $1 billion, according to FMERA. Some 85% of the Fort Monmouth property is currently in some stage of redevelopment, with more than 1,500 jobs already created and another 1,400 contractually committed.
In the years to come, the work is expected to yield tax revenues in the millions of dollars for Tinton Falls, Eatontown, Oceanport and Monmouth County. At final build-out, FMERA said estimates put the value of Fort Monmouth at $3 billion, with 10,000 jobs created.
Earlier this month, the organization put out a revised Request for Offers to Purchase for its mega parcel: an approximately 292-acre site that now includes the fort’s former bowling center.
“Bruce has successfully led us through over a decade of redevelopment,” Kopach said. “He leaves big shoes to fill, but I know that our team is ready for the challenge.”
Kopach has been part of the Real Estate Development team since 2015, when she joined as a senior project officer. In her most recent role, she has direct responsibility for the marketing, development and financial plans associated with Fort Monmouth’s redevelopment. She also oversees the RE Development team, and leads contract negotiations and project management for prospective buyers, investors and entrepreneurs.
Kopach has experience representing Steadman, as needed, with the FMERA board, committees and stakeholders, the organization said, in addition to NJEDA board and staff at events and meetings.
She started with the NJEDA in 2014 as a hearing officer for the Stronger NJ Business Grant and Loan Programs.
“I am thrilled to be able to lead FMERA into this next chapter of development and am committed to the continued revitalization of the Fort community,” Kopach added.