Garibaldi Describes Why Monmouth County Is Ripe With Tech Force
The tech industry is booming and New Jersey is emerging as a hub of tech innovation. Why? Well, let’s say the Garden State is growing more than just tomatoes.
New Jersey is experiencing a surge in tech startups, pioneers that are quickly gaining recognition for the impact of their work across industries. Add to the mix the rapid expansion of established, tech-driven corporate giants such as Amazon, and there’s little doubt that New Jersey is a desirable place for leading edge, tech-based companies to set up shop and expand.
One of those places is Bell Works, the former site of the patent-producing machine, Bell Labs. At the reinvented site in Holmdel, both New Jersey-based and national companies are filling up the 2 million square foot building in what appears to be a trend away from both city headquarters and isolated office parks.
When the project to transform the former Bell Labs building kicked off in 2013, Somerset Development hired The Garibaldi Group, a commercial real estate firm headquartered in New Jersey as the exclusive marketing and brokerage team for the project. Garibaldi’s on-site team is led by President Jeff Garibaldi and Vice Presidents Tara Keating Freeman and Kyle Mahoney. Together they’ve already executed leases for more than 60 percent of the available office space to a mix of small tech companies like VYDIA, corporate heavyweights like JCP&L and NVIDIA Corporation and fast-growing tech companies like iCIMS and WorkWave. Garibaldi has also signed a host of potential and promising tech disruptors of the future, some of whom have already begun to transform industries and business practices worldwide.
When the firm set out to market Bell Works Jeff Garibaldi, Jr., Marketing Director for the company, said he knew they had a valuable, attractive property to show, he just didn’t expect the prospects would be so close to home. “We thought we’d be spending a lot of time in planes,” he laughed.
Monmouth County cultivates rich soil for tech innovation
“We thought we were going to end up going in and identifying companies in New York City or Philadelphia where a large number of their employees commuted from New Jersey and pitch them on the benefit of having a New Jersey presence,” Garibaldi said. “We also had a pretty well-developed outline of how to approach prospects in Silicon Valley. We know many of them are looking for a bi-coastal presence and want a location that offers a mix of urban and suburban assets that will attract talent or make it more likely their best talent will move.”
“But what we found was completely different. We found an extremely well educated, experienced, talented, and motivated tech labor pool right here in Monmouth County, really within easy commuting distance. And we found many more tech startups and firms that are experiencing exponential growth like iCIMS and WorkWave right in our own backyard.”
The Garibaldi team was initially surprised to find so many potential tenants within the immediate proximity of Bell Works, but talking with local talent and businesses revealed some of the reasons for this ‘happy surprise’. Says Jeff Garibaldi Jr., “We think that this critical mass of innovators, industry pioneers, tech startups and entrepreneurs, may be the natural result of the fact that a company like Bell Labs called this home for half a century, and in Monmouth County, alums settled in the area and never left.”
Garibaldi continues, “When Bell Labs changed, and ultimately, when the Holmdel building closed in 2007, a lot of their workforce simply reinvented themselves and started their own companies. Add to that the incredibly rich workforce with a phenomenal background in tech and R&D that came from the now-defunct military base, Fort Monmouth, and their subcontractors — all that laid the foundation for a booming tech community. When Fort Monmouth closed, not everyone took a package or went to Aberdeen, Maryland. Many of them had become established here and they stayed and did the same thing the Bell Labs alums did, they started their own companies or continued their careers in the tech field.”