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HOLMDEL, NJ-Alcatel-Lucent’s deal to sell the 472-acre, two-million-sf former Bell Labs research center to Preferred Real Estate Investments is apparently off, at least for now. According to a published report, the proposed sale did not close by the self-imposed Sept. 17 deadline, or thereafter, and the purchase agreement has been terminated. The two sides are said to still be working on a deal, but a spokesperson for Alcatel-Lucent could not directly confirm this.

“We’re looking at all of our options for this property,” Mary Ward of Alcatel-Lucent tells GlobeSt.com. Requests for comment from PREI were unanswered as of press time.

As reported by GlobeSt.com, the Conshohocken, PA-based PREI agreed in early 2006 to buy the historic property for a number said to be in the $200-million to $250-million range. Since then, the company has held a series of public meetings to gather input on how the property should be redeveloped.

Early proposals had included upwards of 1.5 million sf of commercial space and approximately 300 residential units. The existing structure, under PREI’s tentative proposal, would have largely been demolished, although certain elements of the historic structure would have been incorporated into the redevelopment.

Designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen, the existing building was completed by AT&T as its Bell Labs research center in 1962 and expanded twice, mostly recently in 1982. The six-story structure boasts massive 330,000-sf floorplates.

The purchase agreement had been made between PREI and Lucent Technologies, which subsequently merged with Alcatel. At its peak, the site housed 5,600 staffers, a number that had been reduced to 1,000 at the time of the sale agreement. Those 1,000 have subsequently been relocated to sites in Murray Hill and Whippany, and the massive building is now used by just a small maintenance and security crew.

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