Posted on: 06-19-18
In 1972, when Dan Dean was 17 and his father was newly stationed at the Army Signal Center School at Fort Monmouth, he claimed the attic of the two-family house where his family would be living on the base.
"I painted the pipes and the trim all red, white and blue," said Dean, 63, a retired federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission official now living in Maryland.
Last December, after Dean heard the officers quarters on the decommissioned base were being redeveloped for sale as privatehomes, he took a nostalgic tour with an eye toward investing in a unit with his two sisters, who had also lived on the base. He was already transfixed by the visit to his old house 45 years later.
"And there they were," he said of the painted pipes. Still the same." That pretty much sealed the deal."
Dean's former home at Fort Monmouth is now part of East Gate, where RPM Development Group of Montclair is converting the officers' quarters into a residential community of 68 townhouses, duplex apartments and single-family homes, now selling fast at prices up to $750,000, project officials say.
Phase II of East Gate, which includes Dean's house, went on sale this weekend. All 20 units of Phase I sold out after going on the market this spring, said Dave Schoener, a vice president for Coldwell Banker New Homes, the project's broker. Buyers should begin moving into Phase I by September, Schoener said.
Dean is far from the only potential buyer who had lived or worked on the base.
"On April 28, when Phase I began selling, 300 people turned out and many of them were veterans," Schoener said.
He said many were military or civilian personnel who lived or worked on the base prior to its official closing on Sept. 15, 20ll, after it was deemed non-essential by the federal Base Realignment and Closure Commission. The base is now controlled by the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority, which developed a master plan calling for a broad range of uses: 1,585 housing units; 300,000 square feet of nonprofit, government and educational space; 500,000 square feet of retail; and 2 million square feet of office, research and commercial space.