Editor’s Note: This story was previously prepared for our content partner, GlobeSt.com.
HOLMDEL, NJ—(SBN)—WorkWave, a cloud-based software company serving the field service and “last mile” delivery sectors, has become the largest tenant to date to rent space in the redeveloped Bell Works complex in Holmdel, NJ. WorkWave will occupy a 72,000-square-foot space in the building, with an expansion option for an additional 72,000 square feet.
WorkWave’s decision to relocate its headquarters to Bell Works from Neptune, NJ, is the latest in a string of technology companies taking space at the two-million-square-foot property, the former historic headquarters of Bell Laboratories. The company just moved two years ago from Wall Township, but quickly outgrew its Neptune space. It expects to move into Bell Works early next year, although its CEO wishes he could move in sooner.
“Our culture and the way we work is very collaborative, and we’re all in one location on one floor with a very open concept for the office, lots of soft seating and places for people to hang out,” says Chris Sullens, WorkWave CEO.
Sullens and Somerset Development’s Ralph Zucker spoke exclusively with SBN’s Steve Lubetkin about the latest lease. You can hear an extended audio recording of the conversation in the audio player below.
“The 72,000 floor plate was very attractive to us,” Sullens says. “Given our anticipated growth, we didn’t want to be landlocked and there aren’t too many options that could provide the footprint we need today, as well as the growth we’re going to need over the next two, three, four, five, or ten years, and Bell Works was one of the best options from that perspective. The environment that Ralph and Somerset are creating was very attractive for us in terms of the amenities outside of the footprint of our office.”
As previously reported by SBN for our content partner GlobeSt.com, Somerset Development is engaged in a $200 million adaptive reuse redevelopment of the property designed to transform what was once the single largest vacant office building in the US into a dynamic “live-work-play” community.
WorkWave employees are enthusiastic about the move to BellWorks, says Sullens, even though some who live in Ocean County or in northern New Jersey may have a longer commute to the facility.
“I haven’t had anyone who walked into the space, even though the vision isn’t fully realized yet, who doesn’t walk out and say ‘man, that’s a really cool space,’” he says. “It doesn’t matter what age you are, you pretty quickly understand that some very significant things went on in that building.”
WorkWave’s lease at Bell Works comes just three months after Somerset announced deals with national audiovisual company McCann Systems, multi-platform technology firm NVIDIA Corporation and Acacia Communications, an optical transmission manufacturer. Other prominent commercial tenants include Spirent Communications, an international telecommunications firm; Suttons International, a worldwide logistics company; and Symbolic IO, a “stealth mode” data storage company that is preparing to formally launch its product offerings this year. The building is also home to vi Collaboration Hub, a co-working space and networking group for technology companies and innovators in the region.
“We are pleased beyond words with the people who are joining Bell Works,” Ralph Zucker of Somerset says in an exclusive interview with GlobeSt.com. “We were very clear in the beginning that if we want to create a great space, we can’t just lease to anyone who walks in the door. We’ve had conversations with companies that we did not pursue with as much vigor as we did with WorkWave, and that has paid off in spades.”
Jeff Garibaldi, president, Tara Keating, vice president, and Kyle Mahoney, associate vice president, of The Garibaldi Group – Bell Works’ exclusive office leasing agency – represented Somerset Development in the transaction. The CBRE team of Joseph Sarno Jr., executive vice president, Jeremy Neuer, senior vice president, and Matthew Wassel, associate, represented WorkWave.
“As recently as 2014, this property sat vacant, with more than two million square feet of empty space,” says Eric Hinds, mayor of Holmdel, NJ. “Thanks to Somerset Development and forward-thinking companies such as WorkWave, Bell Works is now a key driver of the local economy, bringing vital jobs and ratables to our township. Residents of Holmdel and the entire State of New Jersey should be extremely proud of what’s been accomplished here. Holmdel is the model for municipalities seeking to understand how vacated offices campuses can be successfully redeveloped.”
In addition to its New Jersey headquarters, WorkWave has regional offices in Boston, St. Louis and Verona, Italy, as well as remote workers in the US and Europe. Team members from outside New Jersey frequently visit headquarters for working sessions, and it was important that these visits be highly productive. In addition, WorkWave routinely hosts user groups and conducts marketing research, so ample, multi-functional/multi-media meeting and collaboration spaces were a requirement for its new home.
In addition to serving as home to top-tier technology tenants, Bell Works will act as a world-class venue for community. Upon completion, the property will also feature a diverse range of retail options, including restaurants, coffee shops, and other services and amenities, creating a decidedly urban downtown feel across the center’s main level promenade.
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 housed a total of seven Nobel Prize winners, who conceived the laser, the Big Bang theory, cellular communications technology, the transistor, and more.
Somerset Development selected the internationally renowned Alexander Gorlin Architects to serve as the lead architect for the redevelopment. The firm, which specializes in a wide range of projects including historically significant, adaptive reuse developments, is overseeing the execution of programming and restoration for Bell Works’ public and common area spaces.
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, the country’s leading developer of luxury residential communities, is in contract with Somerset for the purchase of land outside the building to construct the development’s residential component.
Situated along Crawfords Corner Road, Bell Works is approximately one mile from Exit 114 of the Garden State Parkway. Its central New Jersey location provides easy access to points north and south.