By Laura D.C. Kolnoski |
OCEANPORT – The first former Fort Monmouth residences available for public purchase – East Gate at Oceanport – debuted in a two-day Open House April 28-29. A steady stream of interested people wandered three model homes, from curious former fort personnel to serious buyers.
RPM Development Group, headquartered in Montclair, paid $7.8 million for the site and closed on the property in January 2017. Since, they have been rehabilitating and renovating the townhomes, duplexes, and single-family residences – century-old Officers’ Housing buildings on the 1,126-acre former U.S. Army post.
The models are named the “Little Silver,” “Monmouth,” and “Oceanport.” A fully decorated sales and information center is adjacent at 33 Russel Ave. inside the Oceanport Avenue entrance. The 68 homes bordering the fort’s Parade Grounds are priced from the mid- $400,000s to the mid-$700,000s. Initial occupancy is scheduled for July. Homes beyond the models are in various stages of redevelopment and will be completed over the next two years, said David J. Schoner, vice president of Coldwell Banker, East Gate’s broker who was on-site on Saturday.
The homes blend original brick exteriors with modern interiors in trendy gray and beige tones with contemporary finishes like quartz or granite counter tops, hardwood floors, stainless steel kitchen fixtures and appliances, master bathroom suites with double vanities, frameless showers with built-in benches, and walk-in closets. Homes are two or three stories, have basements with crawlspaces and laundry room hookups, and each has a one-car garage. Some have attics. End units feature sun rooms on two levels.
“A successful preview sales period garnered overwhelming interest from prospective purchasers,” said Michael Hong, RPM’s assistant vice president of development. “Interested buyers range from millennials looking to purchase their first home, to those moving up to larger homes, to empty-nesters scaling down from no-longer-needed single-family residences. The buildings’ former use has allowed us to create a unique living experience that blends nostalgia with a modern Monmouth County lifestyle.”
“RPM has been a successful developer in New Jersey for decades with a high level of credibility and understanding of historic buildings,” said Bruce Steadman, executive director of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA). “They under took this project and invested a lot of time, effort, and money. They hung in there with great determination and persistence. It’s very rewarding to see the first real housing development open on the fort in Oceanport.”
“This will be the first live, work and play development on the fort,” Steadman continued. “To see this historic housing come alive again and have it with the Oceanport Municipal Complex and Police Department right on site shows a great marriage. The streets will be alive again with activity. That feels great.”
Most prospective buyers touring the models were aware the fort’s redevelopment already offers waterfront dining at the adjacent Marina at Oceanport, and will soon include nature trails, open space, a bowling center, micro-brewery, and an athletic club and fitness center.
“I’m here partly out of curiosity and because I’m at an age nearing retirement and beginning to consider alternatives to where I live today,” said Ken Orchard of Little Silver who was touring a model home. “The fort’s redevelopment is appealing.The builder has done a beautiful job on these homes. The historic exteriors have been kept but the interiors are updated.” Another couple touring the site are heading to retirement in Florida, but came because the husband had worked on the fort for 40 years. The largest home – the detached Commanding General’s residence – sits at the end of East Gate on Parker Creek. It has not yet been renovated, but is part of RPM’s purchase.
“A lot of people would have liked that house but we have a strict set of sales rules we had to adhere to,” Steadman said. “We sold the Officers’ Housing and the general’s home in one aggregated group to RPM. It didn’t make sense to keep the general’s home separate.” Hours of the sales office, and private appointments, are available by calling 732-523-5566 or visiting eastgateoceanport.com.
This article was first published in the May 10-17, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times.
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