Real Estate

Somerset Development Provides $5M to Holmdel

Landmark transformation of the former Bell Labs facility into thriving metroburb enables Somerset to provide significant support for Holmdel’s affordable housing obligation

Somerset Development has provided over $5 million to Holmdel Township, fulfilling a redevelopment agreement as part of the acclaimed transformation of the two-million-square-foot Bell Laboratories facility into Bell Works New Jersey.

Somerset Development embarked on its redevelopment strategy in 2013, working closely with municipality officials to carry forward its aspirational vision to reimagine the vacated corporate campus into a blossoming metroburb — a self-contained metropolis in a suburban setting. Somerset Development President Ralph Zucker and Director of Operations Robert Feinberg presented a check for over $5 million to Holmdel Mayor Greg Buontempo and Holmdel Town Administrator Cherron Rountree, marking the culmination of the redevelopment process and cementing the project’s successful transformation.

“When we revealed our plans to revitalize the historic Bell Labs building, we were frequently met with skepticism about what many thought was an overly ambitious initiative. However, Holmdel Township and its residents ultimately recognized the potential to transform this underutilized building into an economic and cultural asset for generations to come,” said Zucker. “Though there have been challenges along the way, we continued to work diligently to ensure Bell Works New Jersey was a success, allowing us to fulfill our obligation to Holmdel Township, which will further benefit the community at large.”

Since its opening, Bell Works New Jersey has completed more than one million square feet of commercial leases, filling approximately 90 percent of its office space. Today, the building is home to over 70 businesses and welcomes thousands of workers daily, in addition to regular visitors from the surrounding community. “The Block at Bell Works” – its thriving ground-floor array of retail destinations – includes a gourmet food market, restaurants, café, boutique group fitness studio, a florist, public dental office and jeweler, all providing a hub of activity for the Holmdel community and region at large.

“Ralph and his team at Somerset Development carried out a unique vision to turn a vast vacant space into this thriving Metroburb” said Mayor Greg Buontempo. “The success of this project has continued to attract economic development to our town, and, with this contribution, is directly benefiting the present and future residents of our community.”

“The old adage of ‘it takes a village’ really holds true with regards to the redevelopment of the former Bell Labs facility. The Somerset team understood the nuances and challenges in revitalizing the historic property, and together with Holmdel’s support, we were able to deliver on our promise,” added Somerset Development’s Director of Operations Robert Feinberg. “Today, Bell Works is embraced by the Holmdel community and beyond – a credit to the collective stakeholders’ unwavering dedication to seeing the vision through to reality.”

On the heels of the success of Bell Works New Jersey, Somerset Development is in the midst of $200 million redevelopment plans for a 150-acre property in Hoffman Estates, IL, which will serve as the second iteration of the metroburb — Bell Works Chicagoland. The project will ultimately create an exciting, walkable, downtown-style centerpiece, complete with 1.2-million square feet of office space, 60,000 square feet of conference facilities, storage and amenities, and 60,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space. Despite unpredicted challenges presented by COVID-19 earlier this year, the interior renovations at the property continue on schedule.

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