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The Journals are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Nov 22, 2017

Bell Works Update

By Lori Draz

It has been a busy time at Bell Works in Holmdel, especially for Ralph Zucker, president of Somerset Development, who has recently been honored with quite a few notable awards. Those honors include:

Docomomo US Modernism in America Awards – Commercial Design Award of Excellence. The program highlights the importance of preserving modernist architecture, landscape, and design across the country. The national chapter of the nonprofit modern architecture preservation group recognized nine projects that set high standards for the restoration, conservation, and adaptation of modernist designs – including Bell Works. The selected projects also demonstrate a preservation approach that responds to contemporary needs but respects the original architect’s design intent, and celebrates the people and organizations working to preserve, restore, and rehabilitate these buildings and spaces. Designed by modernist architect Eero Saarinen, the two-million-square-foot building was hailed as the first mirrored glass-enclosed structure and was once home to Bell Laboratories and later owned by AT&T, Lucent, and, ultimately, Alcatel-Lucent. Following Alcatel-Lucent’s departure, the behemoth was facing potential demolition. Instead, Somerset Development and Alexander Gorlin Architects decided to spearhead an ambitious transformation and create a mixed-use “metroburb” now known as Bell Works, which is achieving the objectives of preservation, restoration, and rehabilitation as well as a future-focused work and living space for its tenants.

Urban Land Institute (ULI) – Northern New Jersey, Leadership in Real Estate. ULI has set the global standard in recognizing outstanding and transformational land use developments, best practices, and creative visioning. ULI NNJ Excellence Awards salute the highest caliber of projects and people within the industry in our region. Ralph Zucker was recognized for demonstrating a history of influencing successful development, primarily through his vision at Bell Works.

EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 – Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Visionary Award. The award recognizes entrepreneurs who excel in innovation, financial performance, and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. These business leaders were selected by a panel of independent judges. Ralph Zucker was awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year 2017 Visionary award for his collaborative efforts to identify a solution for the future of one of the country’s most celebrated architecturally and historically significant buildings. For more than 30 years, the Entrepreneur of the Year program, founded by EY, has recognized exceptional men and women who create the products and services that keep our worldwide economy moving forward. Since its inception, Entrepreneur of the Year has grown dramatically and now includes programs in more than 140 cities and more than 60 countries worldwide.

In other news, the long-awaited and newly created Holmdel Library opens in November at Bell Works. Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, the library staff will be working at record speed to move materials in their new location.

Nvidia is working to put deep learning to work to create safer, smarter cities. They’ve partnered up with a dozen other software teams to create the Metropolis Software Partner Program, which will take advantage of the more than one billion cameras that will be in multiple U.S. cities by the year 2020 to solve an array of problems. The software program will use video-based, automated, real-time control of traffic signals to ease traffic congestion, help you find parking spaces, and much more.

The software company WorkWave was acquired by Sweden-based IFS in October. WorkWave is expected to operate as a separate division and remain in its anchor position in Bell Works. Chris Sullens, WorkWave’s chief executive officer, said, “All of our plans for growth here in New Jersey; expanding at Bell Works and adding employees are all unaffected by the acquisition. In fact, we might be able to accelerate those plans. It might help us grow faster.” WorkWave makes software that helps companies with workers on the road deliver their services to customers efficiently. It has 260 employees and plans to add 200 in the next three years. IFS is a privately owned company based in Linkoping, Sweden. It sells software systems to bigger businesses than WorkWave’s customers. “International growth is something we had planned on pursuing the next five years,” Mr. Sullens said. “This gives us a much easier path to do that.”