Netflix’s Fort Monmouth plans open for public comment

Netflix is getting closer to setting up shop at the Jersey Shore, as the public comment period to permit the necessary redevelopment work on approximately 328 acres of property at Fort Monmouth opens for 45 days.

The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority announced Oct. 30 that its board approved the transmittal of proposed Amendment #20 to the municipalities of Eatontown, Oceanport and Tinton Falls, which would create a “state-of-the-art Motion Picture, Television and Broadcast Studio campus,” according to FMERA, helping to further the strategic vision to craft a live-work-leisure environment featuring a variety of uses on the former military base.

Moving to the public review phase signals the next step for Fort Monmouth’s Mega Parcel redevelopment, which is currently under contract with Netflix Inc.

To achieve this, Plan Amendment #20 proposes changes to the fort area in addition to considering the impact to residential uses in Eatontown and Oceanport, while also preserving the original development scenario for the site, according to FMERA. Beyond residential uses proposed at the Mega Parcel under the initial plan, the amendment expands to encompass those uses elsewhere on the campus in Eatontown and Oceanport.

Plan Amendment #20 provides for affordable housing as required by the New Jersey Fair Housing Act. FMERA said it permits construction of such units for low- and moderate-income households either on its own, or in the event the anticipated entertainment complex is not built, as part of a larger residential development at the Mega Parcel or elsewhere on campus within the two specified boroughs.

The proposal also identifies alternative locations and future requirements for residential units, “since the Mega Parcel is anticipated to be developed as a wholly commercial project,” FMERA said, adding that it “looks forward to creating affordable housing opportunities in the host municipalities at alternative locations than those previously identified under the Reuse Plan.”

Once developers are selected for such projects, FMERA advised that an additional Plan Amendment may be necessary.

In December 2022, Netflix was announced as the winning bidder for Fort Monmouth’s “Mega Parcel.” The streaming giant will pay $55 million for the land, with plans to commit another approximately $850 million in capital investments at the property that will result in nearly 500,000 square feet of new development.

“Our team is incredibly passionate about Fort Monmouth’s revitalization, and is committed to surpassing the Fort’s prior role as a major economic driver in the region,” FMERA Executive Director Kara Kopach said when Netflix’s winning bid was announced. “A project of this scale has the potential not only to create thousands of jobs, but will also result in significant investment on the Fort, and spur local development in support of the project. The magnitude of Netflix’s investment is an absolute windfall for our stakeholders and the State of New Jersey. We’re eager to see this project come to fruition.”

The project is expected to create more than 1,500 permanent production jobs and over 3,500 construction-related jobs.

After the 45-day period, FMERA staff will review and respond to all comments before the Plan Amendment is proposed for final adoption by the board.

If granted, which is subject to a veto period from the governor, Netflix will move into its 36-month Approval Period, FMERA said, which will entail extensive reviews across local, county and state agencies and authorities.

Monmouth Medical Center outpatient care facility rendering
The site that formerly housed the hexagonally shaped Myer Center building at Fort Monmouth will be home to a new outpatient care facility from Monmouth Medical Center. – MONMOUTH MEDICAL CENTER

FMERA said it anticipates those steps will begin in the first quarter of 2024.

Fort Monmouth’s Reuse and Redevelopment Plan, which serves as the master plan for the project, was adopted in 2008. Since then, it has been formally amended 19 times. According to FMERA, the goal of the plan is “to repurpose and return the Fort to a vibrant environment, create jobs, and catalyze economic growth in each of the three host municipalities (Tinton Falls, Eatontown, and Oceanport) and the region.”

Also in December 2022, the sale of 36 acres to RWJBarnabas Health’s Monmouth Medical Center closed. The first phase of that work will be the development of an approximately 138,000-square-foot cancer center and ambulatory care pavilion. Elsewhere on the sprawling property, Denholtz Properties has been successful at The Commissary, hitting lease up last Halloween with the addition of a bar and restaurant concept to compliment the building’s brewery and family-owned food business tenants.

Fort Monmouth started with 5 million square feet of building area, 70% of which is targeted for demolition, according to FMERA. Since, efforts began, 86% of the Fort’s 1,126 acres have been sold, are under contract, in negotiations or entering the request for proposals process. To date, FMERA has sold 34 parcels; six parcels are under contract or have board-approved contracts.


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Author: Jessica Perry