In 2011, US Army base Fort Monroe in Hampton, Virginia, was closed as a military facility as part of the Base Realignment and Closure process, and also designated a National Monument by President Obama. Sasaki's master plan for the redevelopment of Fort Monroe addresses three principles: preserve the property, tell the stories of Fort Monroe, and make Fort Monroe economically sustainable. The master plan identifies a long-term vision for the reuse of the property, key implementation projects, and a real estate strategy for attracting new uses and investment. The master plan strives to inspire, anticipate the future, and provide a strong framework for decision-makers to use in attracting and guiding reuse development to reach Fort Monroe's potential as a live-work-learn-play community. Immediate priorities of the master plan include the adaptive reuse of historic buildings and the implementation of public spaces.
The 560-acre site contains 170 historic structures and several hundred acres of natural resources, including more than seven miles of waterfront and three miles of beaches along the Chesapeake Bay. The National Historic Landmark designation sets aside almost 50% of the property as primarily open space to be managed by the National Park Service. The master plan sets aside the majority of the waterfront by creating a waterfront trail that forever preserves public access to the Chesapeake Bay, Mill Creek, and the beaches at Fort Monroe.
The master plan is the result of a two year process, convened by the Fort Monroe Authority (FMA). The master plan's community engagement strategy featured a comprehensive approach of public meetings, an interactive website, and partnerships with the National Park Service and City of Hampton. The Fort Monroe Authority convened 20 public meetings/workshops which were attended by more than 300 people. A public engagement website generated more than 3,200 visitors and 490 participants, while collecting 440 ideas and 1,415 comments that were instrumental in shaping the master plan. Further, the planning process featured a unique partnership of the Fort Monroe Authority, the National Park Service, and the City of Hampton. In parallel with the Fort Monroe Master Plan, the National Park Service initiated a planning effort for the Fort Monroe National Monument, and the City of Hampton updated its plans for adjacent neighborhoods.
In December 2013, the Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell approved the Fort Monroe Master Plan along with over $35 million in state funds to be invested in Fort Monroe over the next few years in operations, infrastructure upgrades, and historic building stabilization. Following approval of the master plan, The National Trust for Historic Preservation recognized Fort Monroe as one of its "10 Preservation Wins of 2013," noting that "historic buildings will be put to new, productive uses, and the risk of deterioration, neglect, and vandalism will be significantly reduced. Preservation-friendly developers, who were waiting for the master plan approval, now can move forward with projects to rehabilitate Fort Monroe's historic buildings using the federal and state historic rehab tax credits."