One of the most notable redevelopment initiatives in New Jersey is Somerset Development’s Bell Works “metroburb,” a $200-million adaptive reuse of the former Bell Labs facility in Holmdel. Designed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen, the 2-million-square-foot complex was known for its quarter-mile-long open-atrium space, which served as an innovation headquarters for more than 6,000 Bell Labs employees from 1962 to 2007.
As a metroburb, the landmark building employs the tenets of new urbanism that combines the density and dynamism of a walkable downtown “Main Street” in a desirable suburban locale. Today, the six-story building is bifurcated by a 100-foot-wide, quarter-mile-long atrium acting as an ideally proportioned pedestrian street in a unique, bright and airy indoor setting. Here, businesses and workers once again occupy its unique, open hallways – part of a new dynamic, collaborative workplace complete with a blossoming ecosystem of technology, traditional office, retail, dining and hospitality. A total of 3,100 employees work at the site.
Bell Works’ office space is now more than 75 percent leased, highlighted by its anchor tenant, iCIMS, a leading provider of cloud-based “talent acquisition solutions,” which is growing into a 350,000-square-foot lease. A host of other companies – mostly tech-focused – have leased space ranging from 1,000 to 150,000 square feet.
However, it’s the ground floor “pedestrian street” where the building comes alive with all that a great downtown might offer – from a multi-cultural food hall and restaurants to a fitness center and beauty salon to a Montessori educational facility and the Holmdel Public Library, which relocated from its municipal offices. The building also is equipped with multiple open-event spaces, a renovated auditorium, and, by 2020, is expected to include a rooftop hotel. Healthcare facilities also are planned.
Bell Works has received an enthusiastic welcome to the community with thousands of area residents attending several high-profile public events there, including a solar eclipse viewing party.
Alexander Gorlin Architects
New York, NY
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