Bell Works Signs Guardian Life Insurance To A 15 Year 90K SF Lease
The redevelopment of the historic Bell Labs building in central New Jersey has landed a 90,000-square-foot lease deal with an insurance company, adding to the project’s momentum and furthering the developer’s vision of creating an urban vibe in suburbia.
The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, which has its headquarters in downtown Manhattan, is planning to move several hundred employees to the building in Holmdel, about 47 miles southwest of Midtown Manhattan. The property, now called Bell Works, is the former Bell Labs research facility designed by architect Eero Saarinen.
The glass-enclosed complex redeveloped by Somerset Development LLC has attracted a number of technology companies with plans to offer shops, cafes, restaurants, health-care services and a hotel and conference center. About 74% of almost 1.2 million square feet of office space has been leased, Somerset said this week. The lease deal with Guardian is for a 15-year term.
“It just shows that there are many great companies that are looking to locate in the periphery of New York and the great urban centers, and will do so, so long as they are provided the right environment,” said Ralph Zucker, Somerset’s president.
The New York area’s suburban office market has lagged behind that of New York City since the end of the recession in 2009, as companies have leaned toward walkable urban settings with mass transportation options and conveniences such as shops and restaurants. But landlords investing to revamp older suburban corporate campuses with an urban feel have been gaining traction.
Bell Works offered both a campus environment and a city feel, said Dean Del Vecchio, Guardian’s chief information officer. In addition, the Holmdel location will be more convenient for its many workers who live in New Jersey.
The company expects about 85% of the employees in the Bell Works location will live in New Jersey. These employees will reduce their commutes by up to 60 minutes, Mr. Del Vecchio said.
“We look at it as work-life balance and retaining existing talent while attracting new talent and promoting innovation,” Mr. Del Vecchio said.
Article via the Wall Street Journal.