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Still No Plan for Huge Alcatel-Lucent Property

After a Florida buyer entered into contract with Alcatel-Lucent, people in Holmdel became hopeful an important ratable and employer would be revived. But so far, there is nothing to report, says a township official.

Holmdel Township officials are speaking several times a week with a contract buyer about plans for the important vacant Alcatel-Lucent property in the heart of the town.

But there still is "nothing definitive to announce," said Holmdel Township Deputy Mayor Eric Hinds, who is serving as the acting mayor during Mayor Patrick Impreveduto's summer vacation. 

"Nothing has changed. Elsie [Sterling Howard] is actively engaging in coversations -- with the town, with Lucent  -- but there's no plan in motion. As of 11 a.m. today [Tuesday], there is nothing definitive to announce, about anything," said Hinds, Tuesday evening. 

Two members of the five-member Township Committee, Hinds and Impreveduto, are tasked with representing Holmdel Township on development at the 443-acre Alcatel-Lucent property, located at 101 Crawfords Corner Road. The property is said to be the largest vacant commercial property for sale in New Jersey, and in its previous lives as Bell Labs, AT&T and Lucent, provided high-tech jobs, important tax revenue and inestimable pride for the township. 

According to Hinds, he and the mayor and various township officials toured the building with contract buyer Sterling Oversight LLC about three months ago. Since then, they have had "numerous conversations with sub contractors and potential developers" mostly by conference call, and answered numerous inquiries about "ideas that may, or may not, work there." 

Holmdel's two elected officials have repeatedly steered the conversation back to the township's own vision, laid out in the . 

"We've been pretty clear in what we want, in our what our vision is," he said. That vision does not include lots of houses, he added. "We're looking at true mixed use, in finding a solution that would bring jobs and ratables to Holmdel," he said. 

"The township has not seen details of any acceptable plan, right now," he said. "We are still waiting on details that would fit our criteria."

The township still has not seen a formal, specific proposal, said Hinds. 

In the discussions, a plan by a previous developer often resurfaces. Somerset Development's plan still seems to have some legs, according to Hinds. The complex surgical center/residential/town center/library etc. envisioned by Ralph Zucker and embraced by township officials and the public in a well-attended township presentation last year is still being considered, or at least offering inspiration -- Hinds declined to be too specific. "We haven't had any recent conversations, but I don't think their plan is totally dead," said Hinds. "Personally, I liked the Somerset plan." 

bud July 26, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Alcatel-Lucent's stock hit $1.01 per share today, the lowest price since the company was formed. They announced a 5,000 person layoff. Burning cash at an unsustainable rate. The point is, there is a real potential here for BANKRUPTCY. That could tie up the property for 10 years? This situation should be closely monitored by people who are well versed in financial matters, not politicians. If Alcatel hits the panic button, they will sell the property in a heartbeat, particularly if the French Govt. bails out on Alcatel.

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