In a room full of successful developers, politicians, architects and business men and women, the walls of the former Bell Labs building held the focus at the center of what is considered the beginning of the property's future.
Somerset Development celebrated its official ownership of the over 400-acre property in Holmdel with a packed room on Monday, with voices echoing the halls which have been empty for almost 10 years.
Sen. Joe Kyrillos, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, Freeholders Serena DiMaso and John Curley and members of the Holmdel Township Committee were on hand to celebrate the future of what will be Holmdel's town center, as leaks from the ceiling on the rain day illustrated the building's need for repair.
"It was an arduous task dealing with Somerset on a bi-monthly basis," Mayor Patrick Impreveduto said. "They had a vision, and the township had a vision. And we were diametrically opposed to what we both wanted....We are on the verge of taking this once living, breathing, vibrant facility back into play."
The mixed-use building will house a gym, retail shops and restaurants, the Holmdel Township library, a possible remote online college, a spa, and assisted living and more.
Somerset Development President Ralph Zucker paid homage to the building, including its invention of the cell phone and the innovations which took place under Bell Labs and Lucent Technologies.