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Software solutions firm will keep growing with move to Bell Works

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Ralph Zucker, president of owner Somerset Development, shows the Bell Works building.
Ralph Zucker, president of owner Somerset Development, shows the Bell Works building. - ()

A fast-growing software solutions firm will occupy 72,000 square feet — with the option to double that space — to become the largest tenant to date in the redevelopment of the iconic Bell Labs building in Holmdel.

The property owner, Somerset Development, announced Wednesday that WorkWave will relocate its headquarters from Neptune to what is now called Bell Works. The deal makes it the latest technology tenant to take space at the 2 million-square-foot property, which is undergoing a $200 million adaptive reuse project to become a mixed-use destination.

WorkWave, formerly known as Marathon Data Systems, provides cloud-based software solutions for the field service and “last mile” delivery industries. The firm earlier this month was awarded a 10-year, $15.7 million Grow New Jersey tax credit to stay and grow in New Jersey, rather than move to St. Louis, less than three years after receiving another incentive to expand in Neptune.

In a news release, Somerset Development said WorkWave’s rapid growth, including the addition of more than 100 employees in the past three years, prompted its search for another location. The firm’s application to the state Economic Development Authority says it would create 247 full-time jobs, while retaining 154 full-time jobs if it stayed in New Jersey.

“As WorkWave expands and thrives, the work-live-play reputation that Bell Works portrays is the perfect environment for who we are, and where we are headed to retain and attract talented employees to drive us to the next chapter of our continuous growth,” Chris Sullens, CEO and president of WorkWave, said in a prepared statement. “While our excitement heightens for our move to Bell Works, we want to keep in mind and thank Somerset and the township of Holmdel for having a vision and the fortitude to bring to life this phenomenal space, which exceeds the needs of the community and organizations such as WorkWave.”

Bell Works, which is transforming what was once the largest vacant office building in the country, is centered around a pedestrian “street” within the building’s quarter-mile-long atrium. In addition to serving as home to technology firms, Bell Works will feature retail options such as restaurants, coffee shops and other services and amenities, creating an urban downtown feel, along with educational facilities, a hotel and conference center.

Those plans by Lakewood-based Somerset Development will give new life to the landmark glass-encased building, which housed Nobel Prize winners and groundbreaking research that led to inventions such as the cell phone. It became vacant in 2007, when Alcatel-Lucent closed its doors, giving way to a multiyear effort by Somerset Development to acquire the property and build consensus for a redevelopment plan.

“This agreement with WorkWave is just the latest confirmation that our vision for creating an inimitable environment that’s conducive to inspiration, collaboration and creation has come to fruition,” said Ralph Zucker, president of Somerset Development. “As we move forward with our plan to create the accessibility and dynamism of a city within an historic suburban location, we’ll continue to work hand-in-hand with township officials to bring world-class companies to Holmdel.” 

The Garibaldi Group, Bell Works’ exclusive office leasing agency, represented Somerset Development in the transaction. Jeff Garibaldi, president, Tara Keating, vice president, and Kyle Mahoney, associate vice president, handled the deal.

The CBRE team of Joseph Sarno Jr., executive vice president, Jeremy Neuer, senior vice president, and Matthew Wassel, associate, represented WorkWave.

"WorkWave's agreement speaks to the accelerating leasing momentum we've seen at the building, particularly from technology-based companies,” Garibaldi said. “Bell Works is quickly becoming a sought-after destination for office users in search of an invigorating work environment that taps into New Jersey's deep talent pool."

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