Inside the historic old Bell Labs building in Holmdel, New Jersey, a developer is creating a “metroburb”–a self-contained, indoor Main Street that will house stores, a food hall, and tech company offices. The question is: What’s a downtown without a city?
The 2 million s.f. that was once home to over 5,000 Bell Labs employees in Holmdel NJ, fell on hard times when AT&T's successor shuttered it in 2007. Finding a tenent for a place the size of the Empire State Building laid on its side proved fruitless. But one developer saw it's potential as a mini-city and it's once again open for business under the name Bell Works.
Now 70% occupied, the intent is to capture the reverse migration crowd who like the buzz of the city, but want to raise their kids in the burbs. The building offers office space (prefab, custom, or co-working, stores, a food hall, library, daycare and fitness facility, public space, and perhaps soon, a hotel, conference center, and ballroom.
The article cites a study that estimates 7.5% of the nation's office inventory is obsolete or unnecessary for the modern company. Is this the future of abandoned office parks and shopping malls?
Too much openness can cause workers to “do a turtle,” researchers say, and retrench and communicate less
Some the earliest adopters of open plan seating are struggling to accommodate the need for quiet and privacy. Meanwhile, others continue to plow forward with one-size-fits-all solutions.
“Offices aren’t museums; they are like mechanic shops,” says Clarke. “It’s not about how cool the tech is, it’s about whether it is relevant. It’s about bringing together the right assets because the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
They recommend a mix of spaces to accommodate team work as well as privacy.