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HOLMDEL, NJ-Lucent Technologies has apparently found a buyer for its sprawling two million-sf Bell Labs Research Center and its 470-acre site here. Industry sources variously estimate the price to be in the $200-million to $250-million range. As reported by GlobeSt.com, Lucent had put the building, which once had as many as 5,600 workers but currently just 1,000 on-site, on the market this past June. As recently as 2000, the location still had 4,700 employees.

According to a published report, Lucent has signed a letter of agreement to sell the building and site to Preferred Real Estate Investments, a privately owned development firm based in Conshohocken, PA. A Lucent spokesman confirmed the pending sale, noting that PREI will now go through a review period before closing the deal. That review will include a determination of what to do with the six-story building, which has 330,000-sf floorplates, and the site, which has room for additional build-out. PREI officials didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Even if the sale to PREI doesn’t go through, Lucent officials say they will vacate the building no later than August 2007. The remaining 1,000 or so employees will be relocated to vacant space at two other Lucent locations in the Garden State.

“We’re trying to make our real estate more efficient,” says a Lucent spokesman. “We have vacant space at our buildings in Whippany and in Murray Hill, so it makes a lot of sense to move these people into those locations. We anticipate a savings of about $27 million a year in upkeep with these moves.”

Designed by architect Eero Saarinen, the building was built by AT&T for its Bell Labs operations in 1962. It was expanded a few years later, and again in 1982 to its current size. The two million sf encompasses a combination of office and lab space, and the site also includes a cafeteria and health club.

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