Somerset Development President Ralph Zucker (right) recently presented Holmdel township officials with a $1 million check toward the construction of a new public library inside Bell Works. — Courtesy: Somerset Development
By Joshua Burd
A new state-of-the-art public library will be part of the sprawling, mixed-use environment that is taking shape at the redeveloped former Bell Labs complex in Holmdel.
Township officials and Somerset Development, the owner of the 2 million-square-foot property, unveiled plans last week for the new facility at 101 Crawfords Corner Road. Designed by architect Anthony Iovino, the space will reportedly total at least 17,000 square feet and is expected to open this fall.
The library will relocate from its existing home inside Holmdel Town Hall, about two and a half miles from Bell Works, according to a news release. In the process, the library will receive a host of upgrades, including updated technological infrastructure and a learning center with new educational programs and services.
It will join a roster of commercial tenants that have committed to Bell Works over the past two years, including anchor tenant iCIMS, WorkWave and several others. Somerset Development, which has embarked on plans to create a mixed-used “metroburb” at the historic research hub, said it has signed leases for more than 60 percent of its available office space.
But Ralph Zucker, president of Somerset Development, said the library will allow Bell Works to become a more inclusive destination.
“Bell Works is once again blossoming with life, as more and more businesses establish their roots here in this building each month,” Zucker said in a prepared statement. “But our vision for Bell Works goes beyond the walls of the office. We are creating so much more than an office building; we’re creating a diverse destination for the entire surrounding community.
“The new Holmdel Public Library is an essential component of this effort to create a place that everyone, regardless of age or occupation, can enjoy on a daily basis.”
The design of the library calls for historical artifacts from the iconic Bell Labs facility, the news release said. Somerset Development, meantime, has donated $1 million toward the construction of the new facility.
Township officials praised the plan as a new amenity for residents. A report by the Asbury Park Press said the space will be four times the size of the township’s existing library.
“The library is, in so many ways, one of the backbones of a community,” said Gregory Buontempo, Holmdel’s deputy mayor. “It’s a place in which Holmdel residents — and especially our youth — can find a true safe haven for education, and a place to explore their intellectual curiosity.
“At Bell Works, we’re creating a new public library that not only utilizes world-class technology, but provides a modern, collaborative environment that encourages and enhances the learning experience.”