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Somerset Development Signs Contract for Alcatel-Lucent Property

Elsie Sterling Howard Oversight LLC of Miami is no longer in the picture, said Holmdel Mayor Patrick Impreveduto.

Somerset Development has entered into a contract with Alcatel-Lucent to purchase the 473-acre Crawfords Corner Road property in Holmdel for an undisclosed price, Mayor Patrick Impreveduto said Wednesday night. The closing date is Dec. 31.

Somerset will develop the property in accordance with the township's Redevelopment Plan adopted in May if the deal is sealed, Impreveduto said. 

"I'm really excited -- excited we are moving forward," said the mayor, who met with Somerset's Ralph Zucker and his associate at Town Hall on Wednesday afternoon.  

The new agreeement with Somerset was confirmed by Alcatel Lucent spokeswoman Denise Panyik-Dale. "We can confirm a new contract has been signed with Somerset Development," she said Wednesday night, adding that Somerset agreed to follow the Redevelopment Plan adopted by Holmdel in May, 2012. She could not offer further details. 

According to Impreveduto, the deal with Elsie Sterling Howard Oversight officially fell apart last week. 

"We had known that Elsie Sterling had put down a significant amount of money, but Elsie Sterling had missed a payment in August. They had tried to work it out with Lucent. As of last week, it feel apart," he said.

Ralph Zucker, who had been one of several developers working with Sterling Oversight to develop the vacant 2-million square foot building "jumped right in, and offered Lucent a contract last week," said the mayor.

Somerset Development already knows its way around the property, as the company had previously worked for many months on a mixed use plan in consultation with Holmdel Township officials until Sterling Oversight suddenly stepped in and contracted for it in February.

The Somerset plan broadly focused on enhancing ratables, mitigating the impact on the surrounding residential areas, preserving the architecturally significant Bell Labs building, creating a vibrant public space and retaining the open space on the property in agreement with Holmdel's priorities. Much of the Redevelopment Plan (see document attached to this article) reflected its ideas.

Zucker was traveling Wednesday night and could not be reached for comment. 

Impreveduto said Holmdel's next step is to get a Redevelopment Agreement in place with Zucker. "The lawyers will be drawing it up," he said. 

William H. Bonnie October 11, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Has it been that long since you have been in school bob? Do you not remember those teachers that new how to manage a classroom? It is much better to have one quality teacher with 50 students than it is to have 3 crappy teachers with 16 or 17 kids in a class. You are just a victim of the teachers unions trying to get more teachers to increase their membership. You are also living in another time. Soon - there will not be teachers in classrooms. Learning will be done with a computer/robot and the teachers will be nothing more than facilitators. If you are worried about education costs - you should rant against the fact that special ed students cost 1.9x the amount of regular students. Clearly discrimination.
Bob Stevens October 11, 2012 at 08:15 PM
William, I remember a lot of teachers that KNEW (not new) how to manage a classroom. Apparently the one that taught you spelling wasn't one of them. As for Special Ed students, they deserve everything they get. It is not discrimination. If putting out money at this stage of their lives produces the fact that they become productive citizens, the money spent is worth it.
William H. Bonnie October 11, 2012 at 08:25 PM
That the bet you could do ? Pick out a typo? It is clearly discrimination. There is no evidence that shows that smaller class size is a guarantor or prerequisite for academic success. By the way what does "produces the fact that they become productive citizens" mean? I guess we had the same english teacher.
Nicole Magnotti October 11, 2012 at 08:31 PM
In watching the videos posted here, I actually like what Somerset is proposing to do. We just need to make sure he agrees to do what he said he was going to do. Not sure when the video presentation was made, but I sure would like to hear from Somerset again. As the prospective new owner, he needs to keep the public engaged.
Bob Stevens October 11, 2012 at 08:50 PM
William H. Bonnie, If you were a parent of a Special Education student I am sure you would not be making the statements that are attributed to you in the above posts. I think that you would appreciate everything that was being done to help your child.
Nicole Magnotti October 11, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Well he has already engaged the public and I suspect he will continue to do that. If not, I'm sure his process through the Planning Board won't go so smooth. Give the man a chance to prove himself.
steve h October 12, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Our Mayor says Holmdel's next step is, "to get a Redevelopment Agreement in place with Zucker." Mr. Mayor, I recommend that the taxpayers, voters and neighboring property owners are YOUR NEXT STEP PRIOR to getting a Zucker agreement. Zucker has not been presented an application to any appropriate Holmdel Board or authority. Any input from the public that should have been acquired and public hearing required by way of a formal application process will be a moot issue, AFTER YOU AND YOUR VOTIONG MAJORITY HAVE SIGNED AN AGREEMENT (CONTRACT) WITH A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT BUILDER. Please cite any statute, regulation, rule, or ordinance that will guarantee the right of the public to a hearing AFTER you have signed an agreement /contract. What court would side with the Township if you ever wanted to veer from this contract? It appears that you and your Committee brothers are more interested in preserving Lucent/Alcatel's rights above that of your constituents. I was wrong in thinking this would be the first step after your party gained a full 5 seat majority. Maybe, the rush is fueled by doubt that your party will not retain your super majority and will lose your 4 vote power to approve anything and everything just as you have approved anything and everything in the Redevelopment Plan.
Holmdel Dem October 12, 2012 at 03:32 AM
Steve h, it seems to me you are rushing to a conclusion that the public is being kept in the dark. The Mayor has assured everyone that public input would be provided. Let the ink on the Somerset contract dry before having a knee jerk reaction. Remember they haven't even closed on the deal yet!! They are just in contract.
bud October 12, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Hopefully, Larry Fink will remain active in this picture until it comes to fruition or dies for the 5th? time. Larry has a great deal of knowledge about these people and their applications. Larry Fink, "Ombudsman?" What's another couple of years of your personal life?
Michele Thomas October 12, 2012 at 12:47 PM
I understand everyone’s concern for the project. But let’s not forget this is private property. The owner can do many other things to this land that could be far worse than what is being proposed. I live close to the site so trust me I am just as concerned as all of you. But unfortunately this town is too dependent on the residential taxes to cover the bills. Try 80%!!! So if the Mayor is trying to increase and promote business coming into the area why not give this an open mind. By the way Larry Fink has good intentions but the old ways of doing things are not going to help our town come next year. We have some tough economic issues on the horizon and we need to smarter than the surrounding towns.
Nicole Magnotti October 12, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Michele, Very well said. You precisely echo my thoughts.
steve h October 13, 2012 at 03:02 AM
Re: Holmdel Dem Regarding your comment "ink drying on the page before knee jerk reactions." This is exactly what I am concerned with. The Holmdel people and grass roots organizations are reaping their regrets of being reactive instead of proactive. Trying to undo what should have not been done in the first place is next to impossible (especiialyy where private interestes trump public trust). A primary concern is the fact that our Mayor and Township attorney stated publicly at the May TC (passing of approval for the Redevelopment Plan)meeting that due and certified public notice to neighboring, adjacent property owners within 200 feet was not required under the Redevelopment Plan controlling statutes, rules and regulations. If our Township Committee is acting only within minimal compliance of the law, then the rights of adjacent property owners and the rest of us surely are at risk. Although there was a protest petition submitted by property owners that would be impacted by the Redev. Plan, the Township attorney virtually rejected it out of hand, giving no consideration to the other property owners in town,Essentially the TC and attorney gave deference and preference to whatever :"Master Developer" that they sign an agreement (contract) with over that of of current residential property owners. Rushing to any port in a storm is not a always a safe harbor (especially after the ink has dried). Be careful what you wish for Holmdel..
Pam October 14, 2012 at 02:47 PM
Holmdel must insist that whatever is done is done tastefully and in keeping with the open space beauty of the area. Please- No Seven Elevens, No WaWa's!! And Omg - Please, Please no Walmarts!
Holmdel Resident October 14, 2012 at 05:52 PM
The Holmdel school system has already been in decline. So what difference will adding another 100 students make ? Quantity over Quality. Sad to see the fabric of this town and the quality of the school system changing for the worse over time.
Michele Thomas October 14, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Holmdel Resident and Pam I can see how much you care about our town. But don't let the politics of a few candidates running, scarce or bother you into believing that we the residents don’t have a say. The issue I have always found with town politics is that everyone gets upset when these things happen but hardly anyone shows up at the regular meetings to see what’s going on until it’s too late. So let’s all get involved and make sure that our elected officials have our best interest and show up at the rest of the meetings going forward. I will be there!!! Michele Thomas
Nicole Magnotti October 15, 2012 at 12:25 AM
I would love to hear why you think that the Holmdel schools have been in decline. What metrics are you using to base your statement?
Jennifer October 15, 2012 at 01:22 AM
The legacy of Bell Labs is Holmdel itself. Bell Labs built this town and the excellent schools, which are the ONLY reason our housing values are higher than in surrounding towns. Ok, the open space too, only Middletown has better parks. Point being, the Liberty Bell is easily preserved, the Labs Building, not so much. My personal opinions that it will prove economically unfeasible. It is not at all energy efficient, it has mold, and most likely asbestos.....nice if they can, but it is in the end, just a really big building.
Jennifer October 15, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Go, Bud!
Jennifer October 15, 2012 at 01:32 AM
I went to Catholic school and yes, the teachers managed the classroom well. We had 36 in a class, and believe me, there was not a peep from the seats unless you were called on, then you stood and answered. We walked quietly, in straight lines. We did not drag a finger along the enticing cracks between cinderblocks as we walked. We were, in short, terrified. The teacher could and did hit, pull hair, tie people to chairs for slumping.....and if they called home, you would get it worse at home than in school. None of this parents taking the child's side over the teachers. Yeah, I remember those good old days, and trust me, we can't afford the lawsuits for the kind of classroom management youo are thinking of.
Jennifer October 15, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Larry is the best, but leave him in peace. People jump all over him and he deserves a break.
Jennifer October 15, 2012 at 01:45 AM
The ' age restricted' housing development in Lakewood was large, 3 level homes with 4 bedrooms, large dining rooms for " extended family gatherings" finished basements, full kosher kitchens ( two of every appliance, two sinks...) and 'areas for religious study'. The community house had a pool segregated for men and women, and a Mikvah for women to purify themselves after menstruation or childbirth. Does this sound like housing targeted at the 55+ crowd? Menstruating women? Childbirth? 4 bedrooms? A little reading on Somerset goes a long way....
Holmdel Resident October 15, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Ms. Thomas - As a resident for almost 15 years now I always make sure I have a say. I may not show up at the meetings, however I have raised issues with the township committee and the School board via email related to a number of matters. I agree we all need to stay involved with the township issues and also the the school system. I will try and attend the meetings going forward. Thanks.
Mrs. G. Kumar January 16, 2013 at 02:52 AM
There was a time when around 100 students graduated from Holmdel High. It's been between 400 and 500 recently. When you see how many lunch periods (five?) there are in the high school, and how crowded the hallways are between classes, it does make you realize that the lunch room is too small, and the distance between some classes for the kids is too far. At one time, most of the kids in Holmdel were the children of the engineers/scientists that worked in the former Bell Labs building, now owned by Alcatel. These were stellar students, no disagreement there. However, there are many students in the high school today that are possibly just as intelligent as these former students from decades ago.
Joe DeFalco June 13, 2013 at 08:46 PM
I am a senior Lakewood resident and am forewarning all that the redevelopment agreement must be carefully reviewed and have specific deliverables and time tables. Somerset is known to try and overbuild and bypass town ordinances. Hopefully Holmdel has an independent thinking planning board and inspectors who can not be bought... See the Lakewood inspector found guilty in the Dweck case. See the Toms River court cases involving the Fairways Senior Community whereby Somerset tried desperately to overbuild on land adjacent to the community. The Pine River senior development was for seniors but was marketed to orthodox Jewish seniors with the real estate broker located in Boro Park .. Testimony to this fact was presented at a public meeting.. Hopefully a word to the wise will be sufficient ...
Joe DeFalco June 20, 2013 at 10:25 AM
“Readers .. I apologize if my comments on the redevelopment of the Bell Labs Building were being misconstrued as to the character of Somerset Development. We all know that each development project is designed to meet certain objectives. We also know that development projects at times never attain the objective. The purpose of sharing our community’s experience was to help the leaders of Holmdel to dot the I and cross the t when preparing the redevelopment agreement.”
Pam June 20, 2013 at 10:41 AM
Joe, your posting of 6/13 recounted facts. Facts which Holmdel would be wise to keep in mind as this project moves forward. Don't see why you feel the need to apologize. :)
Jon Boody June 20, 2013 at 10:53 AM
This is likely the doings of Somerset's attorneys, judging from the wording. These same attorneys will walk all over Holmdel if we let them.
Pam June 20, 2013 at 01:01 PM
Omg Jon! I was suspecting the same thing! I guess it's pretty obvious though, isn't it.....
Jennifer July 04, 2013 at 10:10 PM
Somerset has sued google, trying to subpoena the identity of some bloggers in Lakewood that posted comments about him. Google fought it, the judge ruled it was protected anonymous speak, consisting of opinion, and not actionable, but Mr. Zucker is still pursuing his lawsuit, and a separate lawsuit against the John does and their attorneys, trying to force the attorneys to reveal who they are representing, a back-door way of finding out exactly what the judge had said he was not entitled to know. These anonymous defendants are already being forced to pay attorneys. So what do you think Mr. joe was afraid of? Zucker is a powerful man, and well-connected. governor Christie stops down in Lakewood every couple of months to pay his respects, and at his last stop, pick up the endorsement of the Vaad - know who used to run the Vaad? Ralph Zucker.
Sharon Millicent March 25, 2014 at 07:59 AM
Just curious....Is this site still for sale to commercial investors?

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