The Star-Ledger - May 9, 2012, By Sarah Portlock
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority board yesterday approved three loans totaling $4.5 million for renovations to Fort Monmouth, setting in motion a multi-pronged revitalization effort for the former Army base.
In this file photo, Maj. General Randolph Strong and Fort Monmouth police fold the American flag during the final retreat ceremony in September 2011. The state yesterday approved three loans that will help spark redevelopment at the former Army base. Noah K. Murray - The Star Ledger
The loans, which will go toward construction costs, legal fees, architectural costs and engineering expenses, came as part of the EDA’s monthly board meeting in Trenton. There is also an imminent agreement with the Army to transfer the property to a state redevelopment agency and an effort to market the property to developers nationwide.
The news comes eight months after the base formally closed, and seven years after the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission decided to close it as a cost-cutting measure. The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority, a division of the EDA, is now in charge of what to do with the nearly 1,200 acres.
"Fort Monmouth is at a great place — we’re finalizing the agreement with the Army to start redevelopment at the fort, and bring back jobs to the base," said EDA Chief Executive Caren Franzini.
CommVault Systems, a data and information management software firm, wants to build its global headquarters on a 55-acre site at Fort Monmouth. In March, the EDA board awarded CommVault two financial incentives: $7.2 million under the Business Employment Incentive Program to create 250 jobs, and $1.35 million for a Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant to keep 300 employees here, according to board memos.
Yesterday, the EDA board approved an agreement that would allow CommVault to purchase a site at Fort Monmouth.
The EDA is also looking for a real estate broker firm to help market the fort nationally and attract developers who would bring expertise with commercial, residential or hospitality projects, Franzini said.
"What we want to do is re-create a community at the base — a community of people living and working at the base, which will bring back tax ratables and jobs to the three communities and the county," she said, referring to Tinton Falls, Eatontown, Oceanport and Monmouth County.
The EDA’s board also approved a tax incentive yesterday for Marcal, a struggling paper manufacturer in Elmwood Park.
Marcal, which was purchased last month by Soundview Paper, was awarded a Grow New Jersey tax credit worth $25.5 million if it keeps operations and 500 jobs in New Jersey. The company told the EDA it was considering moving to South Carolina to save money.
In a statement released after the EDA’s approval, Soundview CEO George Wurtz said Marcal would stay in New Jersey.
"We have broad aspirations to build on the quality of our people, our equipment, our paper-making skills and our core brand, Marcal," Wurtz said. "This incentive program affords us the ability to invest in our business, right here in the Garden State, and to better serve our valued suppliers and customers."
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