EATONTOWN:The area of Fort Monmouth known as Howard Commons has once again hit the open market.
The 63.97-acre parcel of land is now available to developers for the second time after the first attempt to sell the property resulted in the developer, Hovnanian, pulling out of its deal with the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA) after they realized that high groundwater in the area would not allow them to build basements in the housing component of their plan.
FMERA issued a new request for offers to purchase (RFOTP) Howard Commons on Dec. 29 and it sets forth the same basic requirements for developers as the last one issued in 2013. The Fort Monmouth Reuse Plan for the property calls for 275 housing units and up to 15,000 square feet of "convenience retail facility" at the intersection of Hope Road and Pinebrook Road.
The RFOTP also states that FMERA is "also open to considering alternative, predominantly residential proposals" in addition to what is outlined in the reuse plan.
The commercial unit described in the RFOTP may be either one story or two stories with ground floor retail and residential on the upper floors.
The housing plan may include either stacked flats or town homes and stresses that Eatontown officials have called for fee ownership/condominium units as opposed to rental units. Twenty percent of the housing units must be set aside for affordable housing as well.
The RFOTP also states that demolition of the 52 buildings currently on the site must be carried out by the developer and that the high ground water table will require "special measures" to build residential units with basements.
All proposals for Howard Commons are due by April 3 and FMERA should select a developer some time in the next year.