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Fort Ord, California

Program: Base Realignment and Closure

Fort Ord, California

The former Fort Ord is now home to the new California State University Monterey Bay campus.

Fort Ord Today

The former Fort Ord in Monterey, California, is continuing to grow through collaboration between local, state, and federal partners.  Today, 112 organizations employ approximately 5,000 people on the former base, representing 176 percent of the civilian jobs lost when the base closed. 

A centerpiece of the redevelopment of Fort Ord is the creation of the California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) campus, which has emerged as a shining light of the reuse/recovery.  Now in its 20th year of operation, CSUMB has 7,100 full-time students and employs over 1,000 faculty and staff.  CSUMB anticipates a 15,000 student population by 2025.  In addition to CSUMB, the former Fort Ord is home to the Monterey College of Law, Monterey Peninsula College, and the University of California Monterey Bay Education Science and Technology (UCMBEST) Center. 

The 380-unit Seaside Highlands community has been completed and three other new community developments are in process, two within the jurisdiction of the City of Marina (Dunes on Monterey Bay and Sea Haven) and one in the County of Monterey (Homes at East Garrison).  These developments are among the 3,500 new housing units slated for completion on the former fort. 

In addition to residential construction, both the Dunes on Monterey Bay and East Garrison projects include major new town centers with commercial and institutional development.  The new General Gourley Joint Veterans Affairs-Department of Defense Outpatient Clinic opened in June 2017, along with a new, 108-room Marriott Springhill Suites hotel, and a newly opened fast-casual restaurant cluster within the Dunes on Monterey Bay development.  The City of Seaside is host to the new Central Coast Veterans Cemetery, which opened in fall 2016.  All of this development momentum builds on the foundation of cleanup and remediation undertaken since the base closed in 1994.


The 1991 Base Realignment and Closure Commission selected it for closure, resulting in the loss of 2,835 civilian positions.  Fort Ord left behind about 28,000 acres near the cities of Seaside, Sand City, Monterey, Del Rey Oaks, and Marina – an area of land the size of San Francisco. 

The Fort Ord Reuse Authority (FORA) was created in 1994 by the state legislature to oversee the civilian reuse and redevelopment of the property.  Comprised of representatives from cities, the county, special districts, public education institutions, the military, and state and federal legislatures, FORA is tasked with the planning, financing, and implementation of the 1997 FORA Base Reuse Plan (BRP).

The BRP was developed with broad community participation that included residents, businesses, elected officials and more.  The stakeholders agreed that the reuse should focus on Education, Environment, and Economic Development. 

The former base faced a number of environmental challenges for reuse, including remediation of military waste, groundwater contamination and unexploded ordnance.  It had been identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a Superfund site on the basis of groundwater contamination discovered in 1990. 

In 2007, the EPA, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, the Army, and FORA forged an Economic Development Conveyance agreement providing $100 million of Federal support for munitions cleanup for the first time under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Coordination and Liability Act.  To date, FORA has undertaken and completed all of the field cleanup under this agreement.

Since cleanup, new conservation and recreation lands have been dedicated on approximately 18,000 of the 28,000 acres.  The 1,000-acre Fort Ord Dunes State Park – including nearly 4 miles of Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary shoreline – was dedicated in 2009, and in 2012, the 14,500-acre Fort Ord National Monument was dedicated by President Obama.   These properties, along with 600 acres of the University of California (UC) Fort Ord Natural Reserve and other associated conservation lands, represent major accomplishments in the preservation of native coastal habitats for generations to come.

FORA staff efforts remain focused on fully implementing the American Planning Association (APA) National Award winning 1997 BRP.  Recent progress includes completion of a regional trails plan and an active oak woodlands conservation planning effort.  In 2016, the Board unanimously adopted new Regional Urban Design Guidelines, which was also recognized by the APA with a National Best Practices Award in 2017.  A multi-year, multi-species habitat conservation planning effort will be completed in 2018.

FORA’s current economic development strategies continue to build on regional economic strengths (agriculture, tourism/hospitality, education, recreation, and government), while working closely with its member jurisdictions and members to activate reuse projects, find new business and jobs growth opportunities, and realize the BRP reuse vision. 

Updated October, 2017

Point of Contact

Mr. Michael A. Houlemard, Jr.

Executive Officer

Fort Ord Reuse Authority


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