Foreground: James Fakult, president of JCP&L and Ralph Zucker, president of Somerset Development, shake hands after a ceremonial lease signing at Bell Works in Holmdel. In the background, from left, are Brendan McBride, Jamie Ragucci and Tim Greiner, all of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, along with Garibaldi Group team members Kyle Mahoney, Tara Keating and Jeff Garibaldi — Courtesy: Somerset Development
By Joshua Burd
Jersey Central Power & Light is the latest company to commit to the sprawling Bell Works campus in Holmdel, signing a lease to move its Central Jersey regional headquarters to the site.
In a joint announcement with the landlord, Somerset Development, the utility said Thursday that it would occupy 64,000 square feet at the redeveloped former Bell Labs research complex. JCP&L will shift its regional headquarters from Red Bank next summer, moving nearly 200 employees from a range of departments to the 2 million-square-foot campus.
“This move keeps our jobs, tax dollars and ancillary support services in Monmouth County,” said Jim Fakult, JCP&L’s president. “After reviewing multiple locations, the Bell Works site best met our needs with its proximity to our current headquarters and accessibility to the Garden State Parkway. The new location offers the modern office space needed to help our employees perform their jobs at a high level on behalf of our customers.”
The lease at 101 Crawfords Corner Road follows high-profile announcements earlier this year that local technology firms would become anchors at Bell Works. The largest among them are iCIMS and WorkWave, which are leasing 350,000 square feet and 72,000 square feet, respectively, and each have options for expansion.
The JCP&L employees moving to Bell Works include engineering, corporate billing, human resources, senior management, outage restoration and support staff employees. The utility is also moving its central region dispatch office to the site, a team that includes system operators and support staff who monitor the electric system and dispatch line personnel or substation workers for service in central and parts of southern New Jersey.
“New Jersey’s infrastructure and economy are powered in large part by JCP&L, and we’re thrilled that they’ve found a new home at Bell Works,” said Ralph Zucker, president of Somerset Development. “We hope this flexible, state-of-the-art workspace will provide an environment where JCP&L employees look forward to coming to work each day.”
The brokers representing Somerset were Jeff Garibaldi, Kyle Mahoney and Tara Keating of The Garibaldi Group. Tim Greiner, Jamie Ragucci and Brendan McBride of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank represented JCP&L.
The office space is Bell Works is part of a sweeping adaptive reuse project by Somerset Development. The firm has recreated the former campus, which housed Bell Labs researchers for more than 50 years, as a mixed-use, urban-style destination in suburban Holmdel.
JCP&L spokesman Ron Morano said the location “makes good business sense,” while allowing it to keep the regional office in Monmouth County and having “a modern facility that would enable employees to best perform their jobs.”
“Bell Works does all of that, with modern facilities and amenities,” Morano said. “So it met all of the requirements and offered us all of the options that we were looking for.”
For Holmdel Mayor Eric Hinds, it’s the latest piece of good news for his township.
“It’s clear that Bell Works and Holmdel are collectively becoming one of the state’s true business hubs,” Hinds said. “This location not only provides JCP&L with central access to its customer base, but also a place where it can lay its roots among a burgeoning community of innovative companies.”