Bell Works, an ambitious $100 million mixed-use project on 472 acres, wants to be the town center Holmdel, N.J., never had.And Somerset Development, which is spearheading Bell Works, is casting a wide net for shoppers, as far north as the Poconos and as far south as Atlantic City, with Morristown, Newark Liberty International Airport, the Jersey shore communities, Trenton and Philadelphia in between.To appeal to such far-flung constituencies, Somerset knows its offerings must be compelling. The company believes it has a unique property and structure to work with.Bell Labs in 1961 hired Eero Saarinen to design its 2 million-square-foot headquarters at 101 Crawfords Corner Road in Holmdel. The building has the same square footage the Empire State building, if it were laid flat. Alcatel-Lucent in 2006 acquired Bell Labs and subsequently closed the site, which remained empty for seven years.The project as reimagined by Somerset will preserve the striking glass-encased exterior of the massive building, while carving the interior into various uses.Besides its famous architect, the building’s storied history includes discoveries by Bell Labs scientists that led to eight Nobel Prizes.Somerset envisions the Bell Works-cum-town center with retail space, a medical center, hotel and conference center, event space and auditorium, and sports complex. In addition, the developer struck a deal with Toll Brothers, which plans to build single-family luxury homes and carriage houses.A library, heliport and green roof space are also part of the plan. One of the more unique features of the building, which has a huge glass-topped atrium, is an indoor football field.Somerset is reducing the office component to 650,000 square feet, divisible into large and smaller footprints with a capacity for 5,000 employees.“We’re looking for services for the community and destination types of services,” said Nancy Erickson, executive managing director of Colliers’ New Jersey office. “We’re talking to large yoga centers, schools, a drive-in theater and bowling, something fun that gets the local community to think of this as their place to go out.”Scott Edlitz, senior managing director of Colliers’ New York office, said national retailers need not apply. Somerset wants the retail and dining offerings to be a counterpoint to local area shopping centers such as the Monmouth Mall in Eatontown, and Ocean County Mall in Toms River, N.J.“We’re looking for people that don’t fit in traditional malls. We have a blank slate for a downtown,” Edlitz said. “It will be a little more eclectic. Holmdel doesn’t have a town center.”A public pedestrian esplanade with free WiFi, open 24-7, will be anchored by 130,000 square feet of retail space and restaurants.“The ownership wants something unique,” Erickson said. “It’s not going to be easy, but they’re going to be patient. There will be apparel and an art gallery. There will be reasons to come to this building.”“[Somerset] is being very aggressive as far as rent,” Edlitz said, while declining to give any figures.Erickson and Edlitz said the project will have 4,200 parking spaces, which will be a draw for residents.Before Somerset stepped in and acquired the property, “people talked about razing the building,” Edlitz said. “But it’s a landmark and architecturally significant. Somerset said, ‘We’ll keep the existing structure, but we’ll reimagine it. We’re curating the tenants to get the right feel. It’s a long-term project.'”Somerset’s enthusiasm for Bell Works is partly explained by the area’s demographics. Within three miles of the site, there are 27,455 families with $182,444 in household income. Five miles out, 125,166 families earn $125,888, and at 10 miles, it’s 430,287 families earning $112,982.“It’s very densely populated,” Erickson said of the location, reached by exit 114 on the Garden State Parkway. “The PNC Bank Art Center is the exit before.”
“I think what’s so interesting about the #MeToo movement and this whole new wave of feminism in general, is that women are finally seeing, ’Oh I can start my own company, oh I can lear to code, oh I can leave my nine-to-five job and do the thing I want to do,” said @brooklyndecker ahead of her @sxsw talk for @createcultivate. The former model took the stage to share wisdom about networking and female-driven entrepreneurship. #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
“I was making the guacamole when my scout saw me,” says model @stuckinteenage on being discovered just six months ago while working at @chipotlemexicangrill. Since then Williams has signed with @dnamodels, walked in her first show at @calvinklein and landed on the cover of @vogueitalia – a high point of any model’s career. To read @lisajlockwood’s full interview with the model on her experiences thus far, head to WWD.com – link in bio. (📷: George Chinsee)
“I love the idea of dialogue, period. It’s where I’ve always gotten my inspiration from: hearing other women speak, their journeys and their paths,” said @hereisgina, who delivered the keynote speech at the @sxsw conference for @createcultivate, the online platform and conference series for women. For her two panels, Rodriguez chose female empowering, female-led and female entrepreneurs to focus on. Head to WWD.com to read more about her thoughts on Time’s Up, growing up in a family of women and why we “need a girls’ club.” #wwdeye #sxsw (📷: @jgreenery)
Leading luxury brand are shaking things up to keep up with streetwear. Case in point: the arrival of @mrkimjones as artistic director of @diorhomme. Jones, who succeeds @Kris_Van_Assche, is seen as one of the handful of designers who can actually straddle the luxury and streetwear worlds — which could lead to even more changes at established brands. What could this mean for the rest of the menswear landscape? Head to WWD.com to find out what experts predict #wwdfashion (📷: @franckmura)
“It’s like buying groceries. You’re going to buy the best mango, the best mozzarella, the best things. You have to, or others are going to take it all,” said @gabrielahearst on why she uses only the finest fabrics. Last week, Hearst received her first @cfda nomination for Womenswear Designer of the Year, and earlier this month she opened a permanent showroom in Paris. To read @jessiredale’s interview with the designer and find out why this is shaping up to be a big year for her, head to WWD.com. #wwdfashion (📷: @francoisgoize)
“It’s an interesting thing, playing a younger version of your mother. It’s an interesting concept. I adore my mom and love her in every capacity, but it was just something that had never crossed my mind,” says @anniemstarke on playing a young Joan Castleman in “The Wife.” The same role will be played by her mother Glenn Close. Read more about her growing up in the film industry as the daughter of producer John H. Starke and Close and what she has planned for the future #wwdeye (📷: @nataliamantini)
@asics is launching a new streetwear sneaker inspired by its latest ambassador, @steveaoki. The Hyper-Kenzen x Aoki, which will launch at @footlocker stores exclusively tomorrow, is a slip-on style that incorporates the brand’s proprietary Gel technology through beads integrated into the midsole for comfort and endurance. Read the full story on WWD.com.