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Optical/IP

AlcaLu Selling Bell Labs Site

While Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) sheds some execs, including CEO Pat Russo, the company is also unloading a key piece of real estate -- the old Bell Labs site.

The Star-Ledger of New Jersey reported on Sunday that Somerset Development has signed a contract for the 473-acre site in Holmdel, N.J.

Ralph Zucker, president of the real estate development firm, is quoted saying he's planning on creating retail and residential space -- but doing so inside the 2-million-square-foot Bell Labs building.

That's a big deal, because the building was designed by Eero Saarinen, a famous Finnish architect and champion vowel collector. An earlier deal that would have demolished most of the building led to fierce protest from scientists, preservationists, and architects.

The building has lost its past glory in more ways than one. Physically, it's in disrepair: The Star-Ledger uses words such as "vines" and "puddles" to describe the inside, and a photograph shows a courtyard gone to seed.

Then, there's the history, of course. Bell Labs scientists came up with ideas such as the transistor, the laser, the solar cell, the picturephone (in 1970!), and, of course, fiber optics.

Bell Labs also hosted pure research at a level beyond that found in corporations today. That included studies in fields such as radio astronomy, where researchers inadvertently ended up finding the background radiation predicted by the Big Bang theory.

Much of Bell Labs' work was related to U.S. national defense, too, which is one reason why the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) was so interested in the 2006 merger of Lucent and Alcatel. (See US to Watch Alcatel Lucent.)

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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nodak 12/5/2012 | 3:34:49 PM
re: AlcaLu Selling Bell Labs Site Exxon is an energy company, not just oil and natural gas. My point was, instead of investing some money (and not just because they are making so much) into something (renewable was an example) likely bring large returns down the road, the company is focused on the hear and now.
njguy 12/5/2012 | 3:34:48 PM
re: AlcaLu Selling Bell Labs Site I tried more than once, but chickened out.

There definitely was a car they had to fish out of the pond one day. I assume it was for that reason, but don't know for sure.

When I interviewed there in the mid-80's, as we walked around, some one name dropped: "Claude Shannon sits down that isle."
Fibre Bundle 12/5/2012 | 3:34:45 PM
re: AlcaLu Selling Bell Labs Site //Exxon is an energy company, not just oil and natural gas.//

Exxon derives hardly any revenue from anything other than oil and natural gas.

Your argument is that Cisco is a technology company. Then why isn't it building handsets.

Alternative energy has very little to do with oil and natural gas expertise. The last companies who should be doing it are probably oil and natural gas companies, particularly since it distracts them from the increasingly more difficult and costly task of finding new oil and gas reserves.

Exxon putting money into alternative energy probably wouldn't be good for Exxon's shareholders, just like building handsets probably would be good for Cisco's shareholders.

Exxon's profits per total tax paid ratio, and profits per revenue ratio are small relative to S&P 500 companies.

Cisco and Microsoft are better candidates to get involved in alternative energy since alternative energy is really all about technology and software.

Fibre Bundle 12/5/2012 | 3:34:44 PM
re: AlcaLu Selling Bell Labs Site //My point was, instead of investing some money (and not just because they are making so much) into something (renewable was an example) likely bring large returns down the road, the company is focused on the hear and now.//

The profit margins of oil and gas companies are pathetic compared to the profit margins of Cisco and Microsoft.

Energy is a commodity business. There never has been large returns in it, which is why oil and gas companies trade at less that half the P/E's of technology companies.
rahat.hussain 12/5/2012 | 3:34:41 PM
re: AlcaLu Selling Bell Labs Site DNA-Lorrd triggered this thought.

There have been many fantastic optical engineers and leaders from Homdel who have directly or indirectly influenced the course of fiber optics and I thought the demise of this facility may be a good opportunity to revive and recall a few of the names. A little trip down memory lane, reminiscing about the good old days.

This is just a list of names that come to my mind:

- Peter Runge: led the submarine R&D organiztion to pull in nascent technologies like no other. Of course, he had a terrific team with folks like ...

- Neal Bergano: who continually pounded out record-breaking system results which utilized the most creative of Bell Labs technologies to outdistance and outbitrate the Japanese.

- Linn Mollenauer: who streadfastly believed that nonlinear effects would win the day and contributed so much to solitons.

- Roger Stolen: who first looked at Raman effects and worked on multiple fundamental findings on polarization etc.

.... I am sure there are others, so I figured I would get this list started. (I did constrain my list to the Holmdel team and hence not included other greats like Herwig Kogelnik, Tingye Li, Dietrich Marcuse, etc.)

odo
cw.774 12/5/2012 | 3:34:40 PM
re: AlcaLu Selling Bell Labs Site Pat didn;t drive. SHe hopped out of a helicopter at the pad near the pond.
KB258 12/5/2012 | 3:34:36 PM
re: AlcaLu Selling Bell Labs Site I understand that it is a huge place(6 floors and 4 buildings)and very expensive to maintain but never thought it will end up as residential complex and shopping mall. It is unthinkable. They could have raised some funds to keep it as a Historic Landmark. Although I have lost lots of money on my Lucent 401K, ESPP and Stock Options still I am willing to contribute some money for preserving the landmark.

KB
www.aagney.com
StephenCNorth 12/5/2012 | 3:34:34 PM
re: AlcaLu Selling Bell Labs Site A colleague asks, what was the record for a lap? :-)
HomerJ 12/5/2012 | 3:34:34 PM
re: AlcaLu Selling Bell Labs Site stupid cheese eating surrender monkeys. what crazy thing will they do next?
brahmos 12/5/2012 | 3:34:31 PM
re: AlcaLu Selling Bell Labs Site count your blessings...atleast is not being turned
into a industrial facility making shoes and faucets
or a huawei dev center :)
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