Somerset Development's Concept of "A Great Public Place"

Somerset Development's Ralph Zucker describes their vision for the interior of the legendary Bell Labs building.

Ralph Zucker, president of the Somerset Development, described his vision for a vibrant public space, alive with people, in the glass enclosed areas of the vacant Bell Labs building. 

He spoke before a large audience of residents who attended a presentation on June 15 at the Community Center. 

"This is going to be our town square," he said. He described the potential of creating a "Main Street" kind of feeling with limited number of retail stores, a hospitality center, cafes, medical uses, and education. 

The building's "story" is medical uses, such as health, wellness, fitness and a surgi-center.  "A place for living," Zucker said. 

Zucker said the top floor of the building will feature, if the market allows, 1800-square foot, loft-style units, targeted to empty-nesters and couples without children. 

A note to viewers: Zucker spoke in a dimly lit room because he was also presenting slides.

To see Zucker's presentation about his proposals for the exterior of the Bell Labs building and surrounding structures, see this story on Holmdel Patch. 

Jeff Gollin June 17, 2011 at 01:57 PM
The "Main Street" concept in strip-malled NJ has been a traditionally sexy one, but calling something a "town center" or "Main St." doesn't necessarily make it so: (1) Holmdel is a "town." If it wants a town center, town-wide impacts should be analyzed in conjunction with its comprehensive Master Plan. (2) To succeed, a "Main St." should meet the retail needs of the citizens. At the very least I'd expect there to be a supermarket, pharmacy, gas station, restaurant, dry cleaner and convenience/general store. (Too many "faux Main Streets" in NJ are chockablock with real estate offices and antique stores but little else). (3) Typically, successful "downtowns" grew organically over many years - starting with a few stores around an well-traveled intersection with more stores added over the years. To arbitrarily "drop" a retail district into the middle of a large tract of of open land seems unrealistic Let's get real - Were there to be a real "Main St." on the Lucent-Alcatel property, at the minimum, it would resemble something the size of Lincroft. If Somerset build it, would anyone come? What about the impact on traffic, night-time noise and public safety)? Not so long ago, after strong public opposition, the Town dropped plans to create a "center of place" State Plan designation in southern Holmdel that would have permitted/promoted intensive-sewered development of an area twice the size of Red Bank. How would Lucent-Alcatel differ?
Jeff R June 17, 2011 at 04:35 PM
I'm not clear how it will be a town square when 1.6 million sq ft is dedicated to health and fitness (and he also mentions education). Town square, health and fitness...how about I meet you at Bayshore Community for a cup of coffee - kinda the same thing. It is starting to look and sound like the buildings in Jersey City by the PATH station. It's office space above, and retail down below - cleaner, shoe shine place, restaurant, travel agency....no real name brands. It works because it's got a 1000's of workers/commuters passing through it every day, but it's not impressive, not a destination, not a place where locals go to hang out. That model won't work here. I can see it deteriorating after a few years. I for one am not buying what Mr. Zucker is selling. Too many "maybe's " and "possibly's". I'm still of the mind to lose the building. I realize some of us are staunch preservationists, but I for one have no emotional attachment to he building and feel like it severely limits how creative we can be in re-designing the property and its usage. On the positive side, great idea on using the land for a library and muni building. How about a nice sports field (football/lax/soccer) so our young ones have a sporting facility to call their own, rather than getting permission from the B of E for the school facilities or having to carve out fields over at Cross Farms. We're a bit behind the times in that area compared to other towns.
Jeepman038 June 18, 2011 at 01:17 PM
no more retail/mixed use/we need open space other than parks Holmdel USED to be full of open space now wehave to fund open space .The town must have a better thought process on land use---NO more traffic--no more "age restricted"housing units the town should be able to arrive at a more amicable solution than letting a someone propose to us what they want to use our land for People may have great "vision" for use of this land-----but they have their own interest in mind$$$$$$$$$
Dean D'Ambrosi June 20, 2011 at 11:25 AM
Open space it great! How do we buy the property, pay for the building tear down, fund the ongoing property maintenance and not increase our property taxes to the highest in the state? Other than that I say go for it...sounds like a great plan!


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