Bell Works in Holmdel — Courtesy: Peter Dant Photography/Somerset Development
By Joshua Burd
The mixed-use Bell Works complex in Holmdel is expanding its entertainment and experiential retail offerings, adding an indoor golf facility, an escape room and a virtual reality studio to its indoor pedestrian plaza.
Somerset Development, the owner and operator of the 2 million-square-foot property, announced new leases with Swing Loose, Escapology and oasisVRX. The operators are set to open this summer at the repurposed former Bell Labs facility, whose quarter-mile-long atrium is now home to a growing mix of shops, restaurants, health care and community services.
“We are thrilled to welcome these new retailers to ‘The Block at Bell Works,’ each of which presents a unique range of experiences for both our workers and visitors to enjoy,” said Ralph Zucker, president of Somerset Development. “This marks an incredibly important step for the metroburb, as we continue to transform this once-vacant building into a true destination where people from across the region can come to work, dine, shop and gather.”
The Bell Works location will be the first for Swing Loose, which will occupy 2,738 square feet on the building’s ground floor, according to a news release. The venue will feature multiple golf simulator bays, offering a year-round experience for golfers of all skill levels and providing data aimed at improving play, such as swing technique, club impact and loft of the ball.
Escapology, meantime, will open its second New Jersey location at the campus. According to the news release, the 3,274-square foot destination will challenge up to eight players to work together to find clues, solve puzzles and pick locks that will free them from the game room.
The third retailer, oasisVRX, will occupy 2,577 square feet and feature more than 20 virtual reality stations with experiences from gaming and e-sports to fitness, education and meditation. Each station will be suited for either individual or group play.
All three entertainment venues are expected to open for business by mid- to late summer.
Sabre Real Estate Advisors Principal Justin Korinis, Director Dina Santarelli and Senior Associate Sean Pyle represented Somerset Development in each transaction.
Somerset and its team have now leased more than 1 million square feet at the complex on Crawfords Corner Road, including about 90 percent of its office space. The firm said the building is home to more 70 signed tenants and welcomes thousands of workers daily, in addition to regular visitors, providing constant foot traffic for retail operators.
The developer has taken major steps toward repurposing the former building — which spent more than 40 years as the research headquarters for Bell Laboratories, Lucent and Alcatel-Lucent — before shutting down in 2007. A host of shops, services and restaurants have opened within the complex, while Somerset has also completed construction on a 40,000-square-foot conference and event space.
Also slated for the property is a 186-room, rooftop hotel that will house a restaurant, bar, lounge area and infinity pool.