Department of Veterans Affairs Selects Toms River for New Ocean County Clinic

Tue Aug 10 2021 19:30:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

VA Picks Toms River New Clinic

The Department of Veterans Affairs issued an award on July 30 in response to FD Stonewater’s submission of a portion of the Hooper-Caudina Redevelopment Area in Toms River as the site of Ocean County’s new “Community Based Outpatient Clinic” in Toms River, Mayor Maurice B. Hill announced. According to the notice of award, the facility would be 68,000 square feet and have 480 parking spaces. The site that FD Stonewater submitted to the VA is a Township-designated Redevelopment Area situated between Seacourt Pavilion Shopping Center and the Esplanade Office Park on Hooper Avenue, behind the former and currently vacant Capital One bank.

This is the second time the Township used the redevelopment process to form a public-private partnership to attract the new outpatient clinic project to Toms River. The same site was previously selected by the VA in 2019, but the prospective developer at that time declined the lease in early 2020. The VA decided to restart the site selection process with a pre-solicitation on May 22, 2020. In the first quarter of his new administration, Mayor Hill was faced not only with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, but with salvaging the Township’s chances of attracting the outpatient clinic to Toms River. In less than three weeks, the Township managed to finalize a redeveloper designation with FD Stonewater. In the months that followed, the site was selected as one of the possible proposals and, as requested by the VA, the Township and FD Stonewater worked cooperatively on refining the proposal and acquiring various parcels of land. The parcels included property owned by Fire Company #1 that made up the site needed for the facility. Additionally, concept plans and renderings were submitted with the proposal to the VA on September 25, 2020. Throughout the process, the Township and FD Stonewater worked diligently to provide any additional information required up until the selection was finalized, and the Township received the welcomed good news last week.

Although it was an involved process, Mayor Hill is elated with the result and what it means for the community. “This is a big win for the veterans of Ocean County and surrounding counties because they will no longer need to find transportation to East Orange for many of their needs. In addition, the Ocean County’s new Social Services Building will be constructed right next to the new VA clinic site and will include the Ocean County Veterans Service Bureau, which provides “one stop shop” convenience for many of the needs of the men and women who heroically served our nation. It is the least we can do for them. I’d like to thank Congressman Kim and his staff, as well the County Commissioners, County Administrator and County Engineer and their staff for their help and coordination over the past year.”

The Township’s 2017 Master Plan identified the selected site as part of a larger redevelopment area to be studied and designated for redevelopment to enable land uses that create new jobs to be in close proximity to retail and housing. The new VA outpatient clinic is expected to employ hundreds, as will the new County Social Services Building. The Township has been coordinating with the County to find a way to connect the two sites and the County’s property was added to the Redevelopment Area and Plan in 2020. The Township hopes to complete the redevelopment plan by relocating the Toms River Post Office from the downtown to the Hooper-Caudina Redevelopment Area. That would add even more jobs to the Hooper Avenue corridor to help support the Ocean County Mall and adjoining retail centers that have suffered from a combination of online retail and the pandemic in recent years.

“Since Day 1 in Congress, getting a new health clinic for our honorable veterans in Ocean County has been my top priority,” said Congressman Kim. “The thousands of veterans in our community deserve a world-class facility that can give them the care they need right here in Ocean county. I’m proud of our work to deliver this new clinic and am grateful for the positive impact it will have on our veterans and our community.”

FD Stonewater is a national leader in developing facilities for the Federal Government and has offices in Arlington, VA, and Los Angeles, CA. Founding Partners, Claiborne Williams and Richard Mann, are anxious to get to work. “We have a tight schedule to deliver this important facility, but we are accustomed to navigating similar timelines, meeting the agency’s requirements, and successfully delivering specialized facilities for Federal Government tenants”, said Williams. “The Township was extremely professional and responsive during this process and we’ve established a collaborative working partnership. We could not have won this procurement without the assistance of Mayor Hill and the Township’s professional staff. We’d like to thank the Township Administrator, Lou Amoruso; the Township Assistant Attorney, Anthony Merlino; Township Planner, Dave Roberts; and Township Engineer, Bob Chankalian for their work on behalf of our proposal, as well as the Township’s Special Counsel on Redevelopment, Brian Nelson of Archer & Greiner P.C.” Mann added, “It was a long road to get to this point, but now the real work begins. Our team is ready to get started and we are honored to participate in such an important project for our nation’s veterans and this community”.