Fort redevelopers and CommVault, a large and growing corporation based in Oceanport, may soon enter negotiations for a property in thesection of Fort Monmouth, a move which could keep more than 500 jobs here in New Jersey.
According to the agenda for Wednesday's meeting of the board of the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA), the redevelopment authority plans to enter exclusive negotiations for the sale of parcel E in Tinton Falls.
The international data management firm that employs 540 people at its Oceanport global headquarters flies largely under the community radar. The company is tucked away off Eatontown Boulevard in an area that is mainly a pass through to Route 36. CommVault recently came into the news when Oceanport Councilman Joseph Irace accused fort redevelopers of "poaching jobs" from his town, saying at a public meeting, "It is believed that this move is premised upon large tax breaks and tax credits being given to CommVault by the people who are charged with the duty of redeveloping the fort while creating jobs."
Patch confirmed that CommVault was one of four respondents to a request for proposal issued by FMERA for parcel E, a partially wooded area in the Charles Wood section of Tinton Falls which was once the site of Army housing.
FMERA's Executive Director Bruce Steadman doesn't speak publicly about any pending real estate negotiations. Speaking on background, Steadman told Patch that FMERA would only entertain offers from area businesses looking at fort property if it were a "job retention opportunity" where "if but for us, they could very well leave the state."
Companies that have outgrown their current spaces and those looking to expand operations would be candidates for relocation to the fort. But, Steadmand said, "It is a competitive situation." The Army requires that properties be put out to bid and that each of the 1,126 acres be sold at fair market value. Bidders are required to submit their "highest and best use of the property."
"They have to show us they aren't trying to find a sweetheart deal," he said.
A CommVault representative recently told Patch that the company is growing and plans to add jobs, though it's not clear where those jobs would be located. The firm has satellite offices in other parts of the United States and abroad.
As far as tax breaks go, the state (which has authority over FMERA) would have the authority to offer it's own state tax incentives, but the individual towns, in this case Tinton Falls, would work out its own tax breaks with the company.
"All we bring to the table is real estate," Steadman said. "We show them everything and we let them choose. We're not in the business of stealing jobs from anyone."
But if CommVault does leave Oceanport, it won't be taking any tax revenue with it. CommVault does not own the building it occupies on Crescent Drive. A Freehold company, GB Limited, owns the property and pays about $412,000 in taxes on the property, according to Oceanport tax collectors. Even if CommVault vacates the property, the landlord would still pay taxes on the building.
Sale of these properties won't be finalized until pending agreements with the Army are finalized, which is likely to happen in the spring. Another hurdle to the deal will be a change to the plan set out by the , which slated parcel E for residential development. The board will have to approve the change to the plan before any deals can move forward. Upon approval, those residential units will be located elsewhere in Tinton Falls.
FMERA will meet at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at the . This meeting is open to the public.