HOLMDEL, N.J.—Somerset Development announced that it has received approval to construct a hotel at Bell Works, the revitalization of the renowned two-million-square-foot Bell Laboratories into the iconic “metroburb” located in Holmdel, N.J.
Granted by the Holmdel Planning Board, the approvals will allow Somerset to build a single-story, 200-unit hotel facility on the roof of Bell Works, adding a new use to its diverse mix of office, retail, childcare, health and wellness uses at the rapidly transforming campus.
“This decision marks the latest development in our work to turn this formerly vacant, single-tenant campus into a thriving, self-contained metropolis in suburbia,” said Ralph Zucker, President & CEO of Somerset Development. “As we continue to add new retail options and other components that all members of the public can enjoy, a hotel will add a new level of appeal for the many large office tenants on site that welcome out-of-town visitors to their business or to conferences. We are pleased that Holmdel officials and the wider community have aligned in our vision, and look forward to welcoming additional businesses as we continue to transform Bell Works into an unrivaled commercial destination.”
A Rooftop Hotel
Somerset Development plans to build the hotel on the perimeter of Bell Works’ rooftop, preserving the iconic 60,000 square foot photovoltaic skylight that provides light to the dynamic business campus and “pedestrian street” below.
Somerset is currently reviewing responses to requests for proposals from the premier hotel and hospitality operators in the country. The competition among hotel operators who wish to come to Bell Works is testament to the overall success of the project and the ultimate selection will be driven by which hotel operator can provide the best overall experience to Bell Works and the community.
In what has been a banner year for the “metroburb,” Bell Works recently opened doors to the new Holmdel Township Library and Learning Center, which will feature a host of upgrades, including new educational programs and services, as well as updated technological infrastructure and a museum dedicated to preserving the building’s unique history. Bell Works also unveiled its new rooftop deck and lounge, allowing tenants and visitors to enjoy a lunch or coffee break overlooking Bell Works’ pristine, scenic grounds.
The Bell Works community is growing rapidly, with recent office openings including anchor tenant iCIMS, a leading provider of innovative Software-as-a-service (SaaS) talent acquisition solutions, along with the headquarters of cloud-based business management and fleet management solutions company WorkWave and significant office space for Guardian Life Insurance to accommodate its technology enterprise. Other prominent commercial tenants include: International Flavors & Fragances, a leading innovator of sensory experiences; Acacia Communications, a recognized optical transmissions manufacturer; Jersey Central Power and Light; MetTel, a New York City-based telecommunications firm; McCann Systems LLC, a national audiovisual company; NVIDIA Corp., a publicly traded multi-platform technology firm; Spirent Communications, an international telecommunications firm; Suttons International, a worldwide logistics company; and two dedicated co-working facilities geared toward tech entrepreneurs and designers, respectively.
‘Pedestrian Street’ Filling Up
Meanwhile, the building’s ground-floor “pedestrian street” is where the building is truly coming alive. Already, the street has attracted: a multi-cultural food hall, run by the former executive chef of Tribeca Grill; a Montessori education facility; a premium fitness center; a trendy beauty salon; several locally inspired restaurants; and plans for healthcare facilities.
“As Bell Works continue to expand its wide range of uses and amenities, we are seeing tremendous interest from tenants in the technology sector and the rest of the business world—leasing over 800,000 square feet of office space over the last 18 months,” said Jeff Garibaldi, President of the Garibaldi Group, which serves as the exclusive broker representing Bell Works. “Though some great space remains available, we expect that the project’s incredible momentum will allow us to be fully leased by the end of 2018.”
Originally constructed between 1962 and 1964 by world-renowned modernist architect Eero Saarinen, the building is revered for its role in spurring the development of some of the world’s foremost inventions and research concepts. In its 40-plus year history as the research headquarters for Bell Laboratories, Lucent, and Alcatel-Lucent, the building house a total of seven Nobel Prize winners, who conceived theories for the laser, the Big Bang theory, cellular technology, the transistor, and more.