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 soon debut a sleek, 40,000-square-foot venue known as Round Table Studios, bringing a shared, flexible workspace facility to the building and to the campus now known as The Park.
for the sprawling campus, which is
22 miles from Manhattan and also serves as Connell’s headquarters.
The multigenerational company, which started in 1926 as a rice
trader and commodities broker, has assembled the property through 11 acquisitions starting in the early 1980s. It was a successful participant in the speculative office boom that occurred through the next two decades, creating five buildings that have attracted the likes of AT&T, AIG and L’Oréal.
But as the market changed and the buildings aged, Connell said it was time to decide whether to “create something different” or to exit New Jersey’s suburban office sector,
as other landlords have in recent years. The company chose the redevelopment option, banking on the site’s location and the migration of Big Tech to Lower Manhattan.
“We’re on Route 78, we’re around all of these affluent towns that commute to New York City and we see this trend of millennials coming to the suburbs,” Connell said, citing New Jersey’s connectivity with Lower Manhattan. “Our thought is that the tech firms are eventually going to start looking in
the suburbs, families are going to start living here, so let’s build a campus that’s comparable to what they’ve got on the West Coast.”
The company took to analyzing what companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are doing
out west and sought to “take that ecosystem and create it for a multi- tenanted park.”
“That’s the primary goal of this — to do a work solution so that what companies are doing for their own headquarters to attract and retain talent, we should do for every company, so that they’re part of this ecosystem and we give it to them,” Connell said. “All of these amenities are gearing toward: What do companies need to attract talent and what are they not getting in the suburbs that they get in the urban environment?”
The campus had already added a non-office user in 2009 when LifeTime Athletic opened a 112,000-square-
foot facility at the eastern end of the property, under a 40-year ground lease with Connell. But the developer had begun to mull the future and the broader mission of the property by 2014, when it broke ground on the Embassy Suites.
The company will now continue to reposition its office buildings after the success of 200 Connell Drive, and it’s now planning a walkable, urban-style development known as The District that will include 328 apartments, retail and entertainment space. Importantly, Connell said the firm is designing the buildings so that they connect with
Connell Realty & Development Co. has embarked on a $400 million improvement and expansion of its flagship, 185-acre Connell Corporate Park in Berkeley Heights, with plans to add new apartments, restaurants, entertainment and park spaces to its existing office buildings and hotel.
Courtesy: Connell Real Estate & Development Co.
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