Preserving Holmdel
the future of the Bell Labs facility in Holmdel

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Bell Labs Holmdel Site Still in Jeopardy - 3/23/2007

On Thursday, March 22 the public was invited to attend a discussion with the Holmdel Town council on the future of the Lucent Bell Labs site. The meeting began with statements from the various professionals retained to advise the town council. Although these advisors claimed to be neutral, they made several ominous statements. One described the present building as "functionally obsolete", another talked about demolishing the entire building and pointed out it has no "protected status". Despite the promises made by the developer, Preferred Real Estate Investments, at their August 30, 2006 meeting to preserve "phase 1" of the building, they now threaten to pull out of the project if residential development on the property is not approved. In a letter mailed to selected Holmdel residents on March 19, they go on to speculate that "it is equally unlikely that a new developer would be able to salvage the existing building". So it seems they are holding the building hostage until the Holmdel Town Council rezones the property to allow residential construction.

So what was Preferred's plan from the start? The property has always been zoned "OL1" which allows for offices and laboratory use, but prohibits residential development. Preferred certainly made their bid for the property knowing its zoning status. Did they plan from the start to coerce the town to change the zoning? Are they threatening to destroy a unique archeological heirloom if they don't get their way?

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PreservingHolmded 2007 Leland R. Beaumont

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