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Deals & Dealmakers

Once largest empty building in nation signs 350,000 s/f tech tenant

With leasing momentum rapidly accelerating at Bell Works, Somerset Development today announced that renowned technology company iCIMS, Inc. will serve as anchor commercial tenant at the mixed-use development in Holmdel, New Jersey.

A  provider of human resources software, iCIMS signed a 350,000 s/f lease at the property with an option to take additional space for future expansion.

The addition of iCIMS, which is relocating its headquarters, brings Bell Works to more than 50 percent leased less than two years after the historic two-million-square-foot property sat as one of the single largest vacant office buildings in the nation.

Somerset is currently executing a $200-million adaptive reuse redevelopment, transforming the former Bell Labs facility into a  “live-work-play” community.

An official lease signing was held Tuesday.
An official lease signing was held Wednesday. Top row from left to right: Mike Wilczak, SVP, Corporate Development, Ron Kasner, CFO, Susan Vitale, CMO, Adam Feigenbaum, COO, Congressman Chris Smith, Senator Joseph Kyrillos, Freeholder Serena DiMaso, EDA president Tim Lizura. Bottom row from left to right Ralph Zucker, Somerset Development President, Colin Day, iCIMS CEO, and Holmdel Mayor Eric Hinds.

“The continued success of Bell Works is essential to the strength of New Jersey’s job market,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno. “Technology-driven companies like iCIMS are attracted to Bell Works for its unique and innovative atmosphere, which rivals any office environment found in the New York Metropolitan Area. An increasing number of companies are recognizing the advantages of remaining in New Jersey or relocating here from out of state, and this remarkable property is providing us with a competitive edge.”

iCIMS, which is relocating from Matawan, New Jersey, is a provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) talent acquisition solutions that enable growing organizations to manage the process of attracting, screening and hiring great talent.

“I feel as if I’ve come full circle. Early in my career as a recruiter, I placed exceptional candidates into Bell Labs,” stated Colin Day, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of iCIMS. “The impressive technology created by talented people in this building will once again echo as iCIMS will usher in a new era of technology and innovation in the Garden State and continue our strong growth and profitability as we make our transition into Bell Works opens a new chapter for iCIMS.”

iCIMS’ lease is the latest in a string of office agreements with growing technology companies at Bell Works. Previously, in May, cloud-based business management and fleet management solutions company WorkWave finalized a deal for a 72,000 s/f headquarters space at Bell.

Rendering of the Bell complex
Rendering of the Bell complex

Other prominent commercial tenants include: Acacia Communications, an optical transmissions manufacturer; MetTel, a NYC-based telecommunications firm;  McCann Systems LLC, a national audiovisual company; NVIDIA Corporation, a publicly traded multi-platform technology firm; Spirent Communications, an international telecommunications firm; Suttons International, a worldwide logistics company; Symbolic IO, a data storage company that recently launched its innovative platform; and vi Collaboration Hub, a co-working space and networking group for technology companies and innovators in the region.

“Our unique approach has transformed Bell Works into a world-class venue that brings the feel and aesthetic of an urban downtown to this suburban location,” said Zucker. “We are working to create one of the most unique and attractive commercial properties in the region, and, in less than two years, we are already seeing the environment we envisioned come to life.”

The Garibaldi Group’s Jeff Garibaldi, President, Tara Keating Freeman, Vice President, and Kyle Mahoney, Associate Vice President, represented Somerset Development in the leases as Bell Works’ exclusive office leasing agency. The CBRE team of Joseph Sarno Jr., Executive Vice President, Jeremy Neuer, Senior Vice President, and Matthew Wassel, Associate, represented iCIMS.

“iCIMS will accelerate its growth as a world-class technology company within the exciting work-live-play environment of Bell Works,” Sarno said. “This transaction represents the perfect integration of a forward-thinking and growing company into a rapidly-evolving technology hub that will become a major conglomeration of corporate innovation and urban vibe. We’re thrilled to have been able to facilitate this milestone transaction for the township of Holmdel and the state of New Jersey. ”

Added Jeff Garibaldi, President of The Garibaldi Group: “This leasing milestone truly signifies the vision of Bell Works manifesting into a reality. The property has already distinguished itself among the region’s suburban office product, and this lease agreement only adds to its momentum. Having iCIMS amongst the already impressive roster of New Jersey-based companies at Bell Works paves the way for notable retail companies to follow suit.”

Interior rendering
Interior rendering

Somerset Development President Ralph Zucker attributed the recent success in attracting businesses to Bell Works’ state-of-the-art redevelopment plan, which is centered around a pedestrian “street” within the building’s existing quarter-mile long atrium.

The promenade area will connect tenants and visitors to a host of dining and entertainment venues, health and wellness services, renovated office space and educational facilities, a hotel and conference center for both employees and visitors. The space will also host community, cultural and business events ranging from art exhibitions and farmer’s markets to industry conferences.

Plans for the programming and restoration of these common areas are being executed by Alexander Gorlin Architects, who was appointed lead architect for their specialization in historically significant adaptive reuse developments.

Originally constructed between 1962 and 1964 by  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 housed a total of seven Nobel Prize winners, who conceived theories for the laser, the Big Bang theory, cellular technology, the transistor, and more.

In addition to the redevelopment of the former Bell Labs facility, the approved plan for the site allows for residential, recreational and open space uses outside the building, including the development of up to 40 single-family homes and 185 age-restricted townhomes, as well as a field house for sports.

Toll Brothers is constructing the development’s residential component.

Situated along Crawfords Corner Road, Bell Works is approximately one mile from Exit 114 of the Garden State Parkway.

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