Nokia Bell Labs HQ is Moving from Murray Hill to New Brunswick

For 80 years, Nokia Bell Labs has called Murray Hill home. Today, the historic R&D company credited with the development of the transistor, laser and other significant technological breakthroughs, announced that it is moving its headquarters to New Brunswick, and will occupy the entire second phase of the New Jersey Health + Life Science Exchange (HELIX).

Nokia Bell Labs is the research arm of Finland-based Nokia, and will bring its more than 1,000 employees to HELIX, using one of the three buildings planned for the complex as its North American research and development center. The relocation is expected to take place by 2028.

The new facility will be one of 10 research and development facilities that Nokia has around the world, but the only one located in North America. Staying in New Jersey was no slam dunk, as Nokia reportedly looked at 25 locations across the country before choosing New Brunswick.

Talent, location and the university ecosystem were repeatedly cited as the major drivers behind the decision to choose New Jersey.

Gov. Phil Murphy called Nokia’s decision a testament to what the state has to offer.

“[With this announcement], Nokia builds upon its remarkable legacy in the Garden State, a legacy that will continue to produce cutting-edge technologies and contribute to our burgeoning innovation ecosystem,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “What’s more, Nokia’s presence in New Brunswick’s growing tech hub will generate good-paying jobs and further solidify the city’s standing as a regional leader in the innovation economy.”

“Nokia Bell Labs’ commitment to New Brunswick as the home for its new research and development facility speaks volumes about the potential and promise our city holds,” added New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill. “It is a testament to the collaborative spirit, innovation, and forward-thinking attitude that defines our community.”

Nokia Bell Labs began as Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1925 before donning the name AT&T Bell Laboratories from 1984–1996, and then Bell Labs Innovations until 2007. Ten Nobel Prizes have been awarded for work completed at Bell Labs over the decades.

According to Nokia, the move announced today will enable research teams to collaborate in a “tightly knit, dynamic campus to develop disruptive technologies in areas including quantum, photonics, optical research, 6G, AI and industrial automation”.

The new facility, which will break ground in 2025, will be developed by SJP Properties with community support provided by New Brunswick Development Corporation (DEVCO), the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) and the City of New Brunswick. The new building will meet a minimum requirement of LEED Gold certification to contribute to Nokia’s target of Net Zero emissions by 2050 and deliver a 50% reduction by 2030. Furthermore, the new building will provide a more optimized space utilizing modern technology for increased efficiency.

The first phase of HELIX is currently under construction. Set to open in 2025, it will comprise 574,000 square feet that includes the New Jersey Innovation HUB, the new home of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and a Rutgers translational research facility equipped with a variety of labs to advance the work of 80 research teams. In addition to Rutgers, tenants will include Princeton, Hackensack Meridian Health and RWJBarnabas Health. 

The third phase of HELIX is proposed as a 42-story mixed-use building to include additional office space and 220 units of housing.

Ultimately, Nokia’s presence at HELIX can not be understated.

“In the world of innovation, there may be no name more iconic than Bell Labs, and Nokia’s decision to build the next chapter of the Bell Labs story in the heart of New Jersey’s innovation ecosystem is extraordinarily good news,” said Tim Sullivan, NJEDA chief executive officer. 

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