A traditional lobby and cafeteria inside Building 300 at The Park in Berkeley Heights are now set to be rebuilt into a publicly accessible restaurant and bakery with an espresso bar, a cocktail lounge and a game room, all which will be available for events such as meetings, team building and social celebrations. — Renderings courtesy: The Connell Co.
By Joshua Burd
A plan to bring a new food hall and event space to The Park in Berkeley Heights is underway, in the latest step by The Connell Co. to reinvent the 185-acre business and lifestyle campus.
The firm on Tuesday said it has started demolition of the first-floor lobby and second-floor cafeteria inside Building 300, one of five office properties at the site, to make way for the new amenities. The spaces, which also served the tenants of Building 400, are now set to be rebuilt into a publicly accessible restaurant and bakery with an espresso bar, a cocktail lounge and a game room, all which will be available for events such as meetings, team building and social celebrations at the campus along Interstate 78.
Plans also call for a test kitchen that allows for cooking classes and celebrity chef residencies or pop-ups.
“Today’s business decision makers want to encourage their employees to return to the office,” said Shane Connell, executive vice president of The Connell Co. “In fact, studies show that one of the primary reasons why many professionals choose to work from the office is to socialize with their coworkers. At The Park, we have intentionally designed every space to help our tenants rebuild social capital among their employees.
“The demolition scope and subsequent renovation of Building 300 will lead to the creation of modern social spaces that support The Park’s hospitality-driven approach to elevating the traditional workplace environment. We look forward to unveiling and activating these spaces in the fall of 2023.”
Designed by Mancini Duffy and David M. Sullivan, the new spaces will replace what Connell described as the traditional corporate aesthetic of the original lobby and cafeteria. It will also elevate buildings 300 and 400, which total 550,000 square feet, as they become part of a pedestrian corridor alongside a phase of new ground-up development at The Park.
The new section, known as The District at The Park, is slated to include 328 apartments and 190,000 square feet of entertainment, dining and retail offerings. Tenants of both the office and residential space, as well as the surrounding community, will have access to attractions such as a brewery, a covered garden and event space, a Mexican restaurant, an Italian steakhouse and a duckpin bowling nightlife entertainment concept.
Connell, a multigenerational company, has spent the last several years updating the campus’ existing buildings and planning the sweeping redevelopment that’s now underway. The site is already home to office users such as L’Oréal, Fiserv, Bristol Myers Squibb, HP and Samsung, as well as a 176-room Embassy Suites hotel, a Grain & Cane restaurant, Starbucks, Life Time Fitness, outdoor walking and jogging trails and a 40,000-square-foot social club and coworking platform known as Round Table Studios.
Connell details plans for new residential, retail phases at landmark Berkeley Heights campus