The developer of Bell Works, the giant former Bell Labs headquarters resurrected as a suburban New Jersey tech hub, has chosen Two Roads Hospitality to operate a $50 million boutique hotel set to open in 2020.
On top of Eero Saarinen’s 2 million-square-foot (185,000-square-meter) glass-box building, Somerset Development will build a 115,000-square-foot sixth floor with 186 guest rooms, according to Ralph Zucker, Somerset’s president. Somerset markets the Bell Works site as a “metroburb,” a metropolitan hub of tech, art and culture contained in a suburban locale.
The Holmdel, New Jersey, property — a historic epicenter of innovation, recently invoked in the popular streaming series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” as a math professor’s dream workplace — will become part of Two Roads Hospitality’s destination-hotel portfolio, which emphasizes approachable luxury and local culture.
“With younger tech employees that are visiting, they really do want unique experiences. It’s not going to be a big chain, beige hotel with institutional fittings,” said Todd Wynne-Parry, executive vice president of global acquisitions and development for the Denver-based hotel-management company. Two Roads won the job in May, he said in an interview.
The hotel will target people traveling for business to one of the many companies on the site or in the area. Somerset’s Zucker said his business tenants, who currently lease 80 percent of 1.18 million square feet of office space, encouraged him to add more hotel rooms. As amenities have been added to the Bell Works site, from restaurants and retail to a library and a preschool, Somerset has been able to lease out its office space for $31.50 per square foot, up from $25.50 three years ago, according to the Garibaldi Group, Bell Works’ office broker.
The hotel will include entertaining suites, a restaurant, a 13,000-square-foot rooftop bar, a luxury spa, an infinity pool and a game room. A 40,000-square-foot subterranean conference space will open this fall.
Elsewhere in New Jersey, Newark, the state’s most populous city, made Amazon.com Inc.’s shortlist of 20 places vying for the e-commerce company’s second headquarters. Amazon, which aims to bring as many as 50,000 jobs to the winning destination, is expected to announce its choice by the end of the year.
“We’ve been lucky with the New Jersey tech renaissance. New Jersey was Silicon Valley before there was Silicon Valley,” Zucker said. “We’re riding that wave.”
©2018 Bloomberg L.P.