Why WorkWave Chose A Metro Burb Expansion
Within 18 months of occupying its previous space in Neptune, WorkWave — a cloud-based software solutions provider — outgrew its 23K SF headquarters, thanks to an unexpected influx of new investment and employees.
Landlocked, the company examined taking additional square footage in the building, but the available space would have only taken its footprint to 50K SF, still not enough to accommodate the growing workforce, WorkWave president and CEO Chris Sullens said.
Enter Somerset Development’s Bell Works in Holmdel, where WorkWave cut the ribbon on its new 72K SF office space last week. Why stay in the suburbs, when a lot of technology action is happening in urban areas?
“We’ve always been in Monmouth County, and that’s where our base is,” Sullens said. “While cities can attract talent, it would have impacted our existing employees and commute times.”
The company understands the attraction of cities, having satellite offices in urban areas like Boston and St. Louis. Its hope was to find a similar type of environment that was convenient to employees, yet had a live/work/play vibe.
After looking at multiple locations, it came across Bell Works, the 2M SF adaptive reuse of the former Bell Labs into office, retail, dining and hospitality.
“WorkWave bought into the vision Bell Works wanted to create,” Sullens said. “It allowed us to have an open, collaborative environment, but at a much bigger scale. It was convenient off the Garden State Parkway, would attract people sick of their commute and provide a work/life balance. It also had so much space that we’d have the ability to expand in the future. We didn’t want to get into a landlocked situation again.”
WorkWave’s 180 New Jersey employees have moved into the Bell Works space and have been taking the time to walk around and enjoy the surroundings, even though the building’s retail and amenities are not fully built out, Sullens said. The company totals 240 employees and plans to add another 200 over the next three to four years.
Somerset Development currently has a few hundred thousand square feet of Bell Works office space under lease negotiations and with letters of intent, president Ralph Zucker said. It also continues to fill out the retail space — already home to a health spa, day care facility, doggy day care and restaurants — with additional amenities, including the recently signed Salon Concrete and 20K SF of upcoming medical and pharmacy facilities.
A 200-room hotel is in the approval process, he said, while its 13K SF roof deck and 60K SF conference space are under construction. The roof deck is scheduled to open in six weeks, while the conference space will deliver in approximately six months, although the 300-seat auditorium has already opened. Bell Works will also host a 20K SF location for the Holmdel Public Library, currently in the permitting stage.
“It’s gratifying to walk around Bell Works today and see a significant number of cars in a parking lot that was desolate just a year ago,” Zucker said. “Now people are walking around the atrium and hallways, and Bell Works is coming alive. It’s a real metropolis at 2M SF and defines what a metro burb is today.”
Zucker will be speaking at Bisnow's Repositioning and Redeveloping New Jersey event at Bell Works on June 20.