The former U.S. Army Garrison headquarters building at Fort Monmouth is officially for sale, which means the building probably will not see a second life as Oceanport’s municipal building.
The Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority voted Wednesday to offer the 6.5-acre property for sale, with Oceanport Mayor Michael Mahon abstaining.
The Art Deco building, finished in 1936, is in the fort historic district, so whoever buys it will have to maintain its unique facade. But FMERA executive director Bruce Steadman said in his memo to the board that the building could be used for “a broad range of potential uses,” including residential, office/research or administration.
Steadman told the board that the property has garnered interest from several developers and could “facilitate the attraction or retention of of one or more local companies.”
Mahon said he abstained from voting because of the borough’s continued interest in the building, but acknowledged later that Oceanport may have to set its sights on another location if it decides to not restore its current municipal building, which was damaged by superstorm Sandy.
But even if Oceanport doesn’t get to use the building, the borough stands to gain from its sale, he said.
“The value of Russel Hall as a potential job creator and ratable to Oceanport is an important consideration,” Mahon said. “It’s one that I support and that the community will support.”
Mahon said the borough is seeking money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for possible renovation of the current borough hall or the purchase of property on Fort Monmouth.
“We’re getting our ducks lined up,” Mahon said.
He said there are several other locations located in the Oceanport section of the former Main Post that would be suitable, including Allison Hall, which was the fort’s first hospital.
Russel Hall was originally going to be transferred to FEMA, but the agency later decided it did not want the building. Oceanport then indicated its interest in the building to the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Planning Authority, FMERA’s predecessor.