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MIDDLETOWN, NJ-A week rarely goes by in the Garden State any more without one of the state’s pharma giants grabbing up yet another block of space, and one of its shrinking telecom giants putting yet another chunk of real estate on the market. In the last two weeks, Novartis signed two leases totaling more than 300,000 sf, while AT&T was putting its headquarters in Basking Ridge, NJ up for sale.

The trend continues, only this time its Lucent’s turn to shrink some more. The telecom equipment manufacturer’s Red Hill Road campus here is on the sublease market, totaling 276,000 sf in two buildings. The on-site workforce, once nearly 800 but more recently pared to 500, will be moved, but not very far. They’ll join the 2,300 staffers at the company’s two million-sf Bell Labs compound in nearby Holmdel, less than 10 miles away. There’s plenty of room at the Holmdel facility — about 1,000 jobs have been cut there already this year.

The move is expected to be completed by the second quarter of next year, according to a Lucent spokesman who did not want to be identified. Given the fact that Lucent has trimmed nearly 30,000 positions since the beginning of this year, reducing its worldwide staff to somewhere in the vicinity 77,000 from a high of more than 106,000, “you would expect the company to consolidate its real estate holdings,” the spokesman notes.

With those 29,000 job cuts, accomplished through a combination of early retirements, contract buy-outs, layoffs and selling off various divisions, Lucent has cut its operating costs by some $2 billion, according to the spokesman. In New Jersey, the consolidation process will reduce the company’s presence from more than 30 sites to just 10 by the middle of next year.

Besides the activity in Middletown and Holmdel, both located in Monmouth County, the company is expected to move an unspecified number of jobs from Morristown to company-owned facilities in Murray Hill, Warren Twp. and Whippany, all in the northern part of the state. Indeed, according to the spokesman, one goal of the effort is to get employees out of leased facilities and into company-owned real estate.

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