Real estate developer Somerset Development announced that the Township of Holmdel has designated the company as the redeveloper of the former Bell Laboratories property in Holmdel, NJ.
The site is an approximately two-million-square-foot former Bell Labs building and 473-acres surrounding the facility.
The designation paves the way for Somerset to enter into an official Redevelopers Agreement with the Township pursuant to a 2012 resolution designating the property in need of redevelopment.
Somerset, which specializes in the creation of Traditional Neighborhood Design developments, has spent the past several years working with the community in Holmdel and Township officials to devise a plan for the adaptive reuse of the former building that will transform the iconic structure into a mixed-use town center for Holmdel.
Somerset’s plan, which formed the basis of the official Redevelopment Plan for the site adopted by the Township in 2012, calls for the transformation of the building’s existing Atrium into a pedestrian-friendly public “promenade” and the incorporation of a mix of uses to potentially include supportive retail and shopping and dining options, health and wellness center, skilled nursing facility, hotel and conference center, educational facilities, upscale spa and public facilities.
In addition, the approved plan 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 and an 18-hole golf course.
“Today’s announcement follows more than four years of collaborative efforts by the Township, the public in Holmdel and Somerset Development to identify a solution for the future of this significant property that will contribute to the preservation of our Township’s exceptional quality of life,” said Holmdel Mayor Patrick Impreveduto.
“Specifically, this plan supports our objectives to generate valuable tax ratables, preserve open space, and provide our community with a destination for lifestyle amenities, shopping opportunities and recreational uses.”
Designed by world-renowned modernist architect Eero Saarinen, the former Bell Labs research complex met the needs of the Bell Laboratories division of Bell Telephone, later known as AT&T, Lucent, and today, Alcatel-Lucent. Within its walls some of the world’s foremost inventions and research concepts were developed.
The complex, which was originally constructed between 1959 and 1962, and then expanded to its current size between 1966 and 1982, is revered for its architectural distinction, in particular its notable mirrored glass façade.
Somerset is currently under contract with Alcatel-Lucent to purchase the site.
“We have long believed in the tremendous potential of this property to be an incredible asset for Holmdel. The unique configuration of the building is very conducive to adaptive reuse as a dynamic town center that will provide the entire region with a great public place,” said Somerset president, Ralph Zucker.