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Eatontown Mayor Says Plans For New Town Center Could Expand

EATONTOWN: The borough’s new town center at Fort Monmouth could be larger than originally planned, Mayor Gerald Tarantolo said in a recent review with Comcast Newsmakers

“Right now it’s going to be a very active year for this plan, we’re expecting that the year 2014 will be the year we will actually identify a potential developer for the property that has been designated as the new town center for Eatontown,” Tarantolo said.

Tarantolo said he is happy that there is potential for the proposed site, known as Parcel B, to expand from 55 acres to 75 acres.

“I think that’s good, in fact, when we originally put together the plan, we allocated 55 acres as the town center, however that plan is seven years old and we’re in a process now of trying to rethink some of the issues that were in that plan and one of them is expanding the town center to 75 acres,” Tarantolo said.

The reuse plan for the 55-acre parcel calls for a “lifestyle center” with a total of 302 medium density or mixed-use residential units and up to 150,000 square feet of lifestyle retail units.

“All of that could change slightly if we move from the 55 acres to 75 acres,” Tarantolo said.

Tarantolo said the original design for the town center was modeled after Long Branch’s Pier Village with residential units on the second and third floors on top of commercial development including restaurants.

He said his hope is to acquire liquor licenses for the restaurants that could rent the commercial space.

“We recognized that the success of this project will be based on having liquor licenses and we’ve started discussions now with the New Jersey ABC (Division of Alcohol Beverage Control) on passing new legislation that would take care of the three town centers for the planned Fort Monmouth redevelopment,” he said. “We expect we will have some additional liquor licenses to accommodate that whole arrangement.”

There are also town centers proposed for Tinton Falls and Oceanport, the other towns where Fort Monmouth is located, with a mix of residential and commercial space.

The relocation of Eatontown’s borough hall could also be a part of the new town center.

“The original plan called for moving Eatontown’s municipal complex to Fort Monmouth,” Tarantolo said. “One of the reasons behind that is the fact that our current municipal building is lacking in space and we’re bursting at the seams.”

He said a decision will have to be made as to whether to stay at the the current facility and expand it for move to a new town hall.

“We’re looking at that now, in fact, we’re doing some studies on our existing building to see how it might be expanded, but that’s not looking very promising,” he said. “So, the fact of the matter is that maybe moving to Fort Monmouth will be a solution for our space problems and it will be an amenity associated with the new town center.”

Tarantolo said original pushed for the borough to move Fort Monmouth’s Mallette Hall, but with renovations costs expected to reach about $15 million, that plan was scrapped.

Requests for offers to purchase (RFOTPs) for Parcel B are expected to go out in the next few months, and that new developer should be identified by the end of the summer, Tarantolo said.

To read more about Parcel B, click here.

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