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Holmdel Bell Labs facility update: it stays!

Well here's a good bit of news to kick your weekend off with. Remember that piece we did profiling the Bell Labs Holmdel Facility that was looking like it was about to be razed by a real estate development firm which recently purchased the property? Well, after the public outcry that followed in the blogosphere and abroad (which apparently resulted in a deluge of calls, letters, and emails), it looks like the development firm, PREI, isn't only going to keep a huge portion of the site, they're going to do more to further its historic value. At a Holmdel Community Center meeting attended by Joe Ferrara (who originally tipped us off to the situation), PREI announced that the landscape, oval, tower and two of the original Phase I Eero Saarinen-designed buildings will remain (including the 80-foot tall center lobby), in addition to developing a historic library to highlight Bell Labs' artifacts and paraphernalia related to the facility. Also being built are five new adjacent buildings (in orange, above), though two of the original Phase II buildings (and two wings that were added later) will be demolished. Kinda sucks the facility couldn't be left entirely intact, but they're keeping the core of the Labs and Saarinen's work -- which is really all we can ask for -- and are adding to the office space without taking away from the pastoral surroundings. Apparently the new tenants are expected by 2009, and we can only hope they'll appreciate their digs and live up to the Holmdel legacy of innovation.

P.S. -To anyone who wrote, called, or TPed PREI, we thank you, and technology history thanks you. Have a nice Labor Day!
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