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Bell Labs Holmdel NJ Landmark Building Saved


The landmark Eero Saarinen-designed Bell Labs building in Holmdel NJ has been saved from the wrecking ball after having been abandoned by Alcatel-Lucent in 2007. This building is where your blogger started his professional career as an MIT co-op student many years ago. Bob Lucky, former FCC TAC chair has also frequently written about the fate of the building and its significance to the technology community and its neighbors in New Jersey.


The building was completed in 1962 and subsequently expanded in 1966 and 1982 to its final size of two million square feet of office and laboratory space. Around the same time Saarinen designed the IBM Yorktown Heights (NY) Research Center which was similar in many ways although generally used more expensive materials. The rate base-regulated AT&T of the 1960s was more frugal than the unregulated near monopolist IBM of that era. btl-ho

In 2008, the New Jersey Society of Architects prepared a detailed study/“charette” of the building and preservation/reuse options. But in 2009 the local government appeared to have little interest in preservation. However in August Somerset Development Corp. purchased the property (for $27M). The former research lab that was home to several Nobel laureates will now include a health and wellness center, skilled nursing facility and assisted living center, a hotel, restaurants and shopping, spa, office spaces and a 20,000-square-foot public library. On the surrounding acres, plans call recreational and open space, along with 40 single-family luxury homes and 185 age-restricted town homes. The nearby separate Bell Labs Crawford Hill facility in Holmdel which predated the Saarinen-designed building and was the location of Arno Penzias’ discovery of big bang radiation remains but is reported to have been greatly downsized. It is not architecturally significant although it is historically significant.

UPDATE 4/11/17
Wall Street Journal story on new tenants in the historic building now called Bell Works;

Bell Works logo

Holmdel 2016 WSJ

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