HOLMDEL, N.J. – Hundreds of Holmdel families joined Somerset Development along with County and Local Officials to celebrate the pre-view of the new Holmdel Public Library and Learning Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, this past Wednesday. Located within the two million square foot Bell Works Building, the new 18,000 square-foot library and learning center will provide visitors with modern technology and various educational programs for everyone. Library officials from Monmouth County and Holmdel are hopeful to open the doors to the public before the end of December. The event opened with celebratory remarks from Holmdel Mayor Greg Buontempo and Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian Burry. Congressman Smith's Chief of Staff Jo Schloeder, on behalf of Congressman Smith, presented a flag that was flown over the United States Capital by the request of Smith, in the honor of Holmdel's new Library and Learning Center. You can see the flag presentation here in the following video:
Following the welcoming speeches was the ceremonial ribbon-cutting (video below). Attendees were then offered a special preview tour of the library to see the layout, and envision the completed project by viewing the display of architectual renderings to lend an idea as to what the finished space will look like. The new library – which provides more than four times the space as its previous location in the basement of Holmdel’s Town Hall, will utilize world-class technology, and provide a modern, collaborative environment that encourages and enhances the learning experience for all ages. The construction contract for the library is set to end mid-November, and then the start of shelving books and moving in the furniture, working stations, and all of the finishing touches will begin.
The new Holmdel Library and Learning Center will feature a host of improvements and amenities, including thousands of books and:
- Multiple meeting and conference rooms ideal for community, teaching, and cultural events, with select areas offering seating for as many as 80 people.
- Free, on-site access to digital research and reference tools such as: Ancestry.com, Morningstar Investment Research Center, EBSCOhost journals, Hoover’s Online, Value Line, Small Business Reference Center, JSTOR Academic Journals and Weiss Insurance Ratings.
- An extensive selection of subscription-based resources for law, medicine, arts, entertainment, employment, grants and politics.
- Access to over 100 magazines, both current editions and archives.
- A comfortable, welcoming lounge areas with access to charging stations.
- A well-curated, relevant print collection with a dedicated children’s and teen wing.
- Various educational programs and services for children, teens and adults.
- A permanent exhibit honoring the legacy of innovation at Bell Labs and AT&T as well as the history of Holmdel Township.
Holmdel Librarian since 2004, Karen Nealis says, “Our entire staff is so excited about moving Holmdel’s Library into Bell Works! We will have so many new programs, a movie series, quiet study rooms, a greatly expanded children’s area and for the first time we will have a teen area to include among many things, wireless access and hot spot charging areas, comfortable circular couch seating and workspace counter tops with comfortable backed stools. This will offer our teens a comfortable and convenient area to work independently or meet friends and study together.”
Residents of Holmdel will have borrowing privileges as well as access to online resources with their library card. Bell Works tenants will receive a guest pass to use the library, and all New Jersey residents are eligible to apply for a free internet pass to access all of the online materials. At the event, Holmdel’s Mayor Greg Buontempo and Somerset Development President Ralph Zucker were in attendance and available for questions. “Today marks a special occasion for the entire Holmdel community. We see this new Library and Learning Center as an environment that will enrich the lives of everyone who passes through its doors,” said Mayor Greg Buontempo.
Originally constructed between 1962 and 1982, Bell Works is revered for its role in spurring the development of some of the world’s foremost inventions and research concepts. Today, Somerset Development is transforming the building into a mixed-use ‘metroburb,’ complete with offices, retail, dining, healthcare, community amentities, recreation, and hospitality. “As we celebrate the opening of this state-of-the-art facility we are reminded of how, even throughout Bell Works’ evolution into a regional destination, it remains part of the fabric of the Holmdel community,” said Ralph Zucker, President of Somerset Development. “We look forward to the new and exciting dynamic the Holmdel Public Library and Learning Center will bring to Bell Works’ increasingly diverse environment. The library brings us one step closer to creating a hub for everyone in the community, regardless of age or occupation, to visit and enjoy.” Township Committeeman Eric Hinds has been instrumental in developing the library project since the inception stage in 2015 (Hinds was then serving as Holmdel's Mayor). Hinds says, “I want to personally thank Ralph Zucker for sharing our vision for The Holmdel Public Library and Learning Center. From day one, he was on board with our plans to implement the best possible library for our town of Holmdel. He shared our vision and he has been working with us from the idea phase to what is now becoming a reality. Holmdel’s new library is another example of the way Bell Works is creating a great gathering place for everyone in our community.”
For decades, Holmdel Township residents have paid a special tax to Monmouth County to fund the small and dark library in the basement under Town Hall. The same tax is paid regardless of the size of the library. The concept of having the library at the former Lucent Building—now Bell Works was discussed over a decade ago and presented in a redevelopment plan to the Township Committee. Fast forward to today and that plan is now unfolding beautifully to benefit all of Holmdel and the surrounding communities. Project details and specifics were discussed in 2015 and then finalized in 2016 with Arcai Iovino Architects, Holmdel Township and Somerset Development. Then, the plans were announced in January of 2017 at a public meeting in the Bell Works atrium. The library was specifically planned to play off Eero Saarinen’s design for the original Bell Labs building. The library layout is centered off a curved path that makes its way through the facility. Iovino said he ‘wanted the facilities design to play off of the right angles of the famed architect Saarinen.’ Regarding the new library, The Township of Holmdel entered a 30 year lease with Bell Works for $1.7 million. The township passed a bond ordinance last year to cover that amount. Shortly following the unveiling, Somerset Development presented a check for $1 million dollars to Holmdel Township as part of their commitment to the project. Holmdel residents will finally be able to enjoy the benefits of the library tax that they have been paying for every year. Former Monmouth County Library Commissioner, (as well as current Holmdel resident and Holmdel Board of Education Member), Mike Sockol said, “We build libraries to store memories, share ideas and promote learning. Their presence says a lot about the communities where they reside, so I was very proud today to see how close we are to opening to the public a library that truly reflects the quality of Holmdel and its commitment to support centers of education for residents of all ages. The old Bell Labs building used to be a great repository of human knowledge, and with this new library, it can continue to be so.” One thing is for certain in the near future; The Holmdel Library and Learning Center is going to be very busy with many families making it a regular go to for learning, socializing and just hanging out in Holmdel's amazing new 'metroburb!'
Bell Works has signed leases for over 75 percent of its office space. In addition, Bell Works will soon celebrate the move-in of anchor tenant iCIMS, a leading provider of innovative Software-as-a-service (SaaS) talent acquisition solutions. This year, Somerset also welcomed the new headquarters for cloud-based business management and fleet management solutions company WorkWave. Other prominent commercial tenants include: Guardian Life Insurance; Acacia Communications, a recognized optical transmissions manufacturer; Jersey Central Power and Light; MetTel, a New York City-based telecommunications firm; McCann Systems LLC, a national audiovisual company; NVIDIA Corporation, a publicly traded multi-platform technology firm; Spirent Communications, an international telecommunications firm; Suttons International, a worldwide logistics company; and the DesignLab, a design-focused co-working space.
Bell Works is approximately one mile from Exit 114 of the Garden State Parkway. Its central location provides easy access to major commercial and transportation hubs throughout the Tri-State area. For more information about Bell Works, visit www.bell.works and follow Bell Works on social media at www.facebook.com/bellworks , @bellworksnj on Twitter and @bellworks on Instagram.
About Somerset Development:
Somerset Development is a leading real estate developer focusing on large-scale transit oriented and brownfield redevelopment projects headquartered in New Jersey, led by a team of principals with more than 40 years of development experience. The company has positioned itself as one of the region’s foremost real estate firms specializing in innovative mixed use and adaptive reuse projects, including the planning and development of Traditional Neighborhood Design communities that evoke a strong sense of place and reflect a distinctive character. With several high profile, large-scale redevelopment and development projects under construction or in the planning stages, Somerset has earned a quality reputation for its unwavering commitment to excellence through responsible development practices. For more information on Somerset Development, contact the company by calling (732) 367-2828 or via the company’s website at www.SDNJ.com
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