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12 NOVEMBER 2020
Connell looks to build community hub, workplace of the future at Berkeley Heights office park
Even in the midst of a pandemic, the daily worker population at 200 Connell Drive is at nearly a
third of what would be its occupancy in normal times. That’s well above the four other office buildings at the sprawling Berkeley Heights campus long known as Connell Corporate Park.
The difference is clear, as Shane Connell points out during a tour of the 343,000-square-foot building. The five- story property has been transformed over the past two years, from a new jewel box façade to the addition of upscale dining options, an on-site clinic and a fitness center that’s akin to a New York City health club.
“This was our least desirable building,”
By Joshua Burd
and urban-style park space by 2023.
trying to do this,” Connell said, noting that the park was home to 5,000 daily office workers before the pandemic. “We’re trying to do it a little differently, so we’re trying to say that, regardless of building type, we have this hospitality approach to service and an elevation of this work-life balance.”
The development firm, one of many business units under the privately held, 94-year-old Connell Co., is already some five years into the ambitious project. The property welcomed a new Embassy Suites
by Hilton in 2018, bringing 176 hotel rooms and event space for both business and leisure guests. It largely completed its renovation of 200 Connell Drive in early 2019 and will
said Connell, the executive vice president of Connell Real Estate & Development Co. “Now it’s our most desirable.”
Even so, the upgrades at 200 Connell Drive and the campus at large have
The concept is by no means uncommon in a state that is filled
with aging suburban office parks, but Connell sees one key differentiator: The revamped office space and the new mixed-use development will be supported by a campus-wide, in-house team that will provide everything from meal planning and personal training to events and social programming.
He sees it as the secret to not only modernizing the 1.5 million-square- foot office park, but creating a new quasi-urban destination for the surrounding communities.
“There’s obviously a lot of mixed-use campuses and suburban campuses
 Shane Connell
only just begun. Connell Real Estate, the developer and longtime owner of the park, is in the midst
of a sweeping, $400 million improvement 185-acre
and expansion of the
property, one that will create new apartments, restaurants, entertainment
 A rendering of The District, a mixed-use project by Connell Real Estate & Development Co. that will bring 328 apartments, retail and entertainment space to the Connell Corporate Park in Berkeley Heights
Courtesy: Connell Real Estate & Development Co.

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