If the Route 1 corridor is “Einstein’s Alley,” then the Princeton Corporate Plaza, on Deer Park Drive off Route 1 in Monmouth Junction, just might be Einstein’s Office Park. The complex, built in the 1980s, is home to 85 high-tech companies.
Einstein’s Alley, a group that promotes high tech business in central New Jersey, will host a press event and sign raising on Thursday, October 19, at 3 p.m. at 7 Deer Park Drive. Einstein’s Alley will be spotlighting the Laboratory and Research Center at the Princeton Corporate Plaza and several of its tenants while raising an Einstein’s Alley sign on Route 1 at the entrance to the campus.
Princeton Corporate Plaza, a 250,000-square-foot complex, was designed by architect Harold Kent, who had the ahead-of-its-time idea to build a space for small, innovative high tech companies. (U.S. 1, July 17, 2013.) Princeton Corporate Plaza started off as an office complex, but the site quickly became more laboratory-oriented after several pharmaceutical companies moved in. Today the campus is home to large and small biotech and R&D companies such as Rive Technology, Pharmaseq, TyRx, and Cytosorbents.
“I was always enamored with the pharmaceutical business,” the architect told U.S. 1 in a 2013 interview. Kent grew up in Newark, the son of a homemaker mother and an engineer father who owned a lumber company. He studied architecture at Syracuse.
One unique feature of the Princeton Corporate Plaza is the space inside its four buildings is customizable and includes spaces from 500 to 28,000 square feet. Kent has designed special facilities for electronics manufacturing, lab work, and to fit certain pieces of machinery. The result is a layout that may be confusing to visitors but is perfectly suited to each company that sets up shop there.
“We are customizing spaces every month and moving people around,” said Pam Kent, Harold’s daughter-in-law, who manages the complex along with her daughter, Jessie. “We’re constantly evolving.”
For example, EOS products, located next to the office park’s cafe, wanted to expand its lab space. Since the cafe wasn’t doing well and the cafe space was already similar to lab space, they just took over the cafe.
Pam Kent said she hoped the Einstein’s Alley event would draw more attention to the innovative companies that make their home on the campus. Some of the firms there have gone on to great success, such as CytoSorbents, which was listed on the NASDAQ last year. Others work in relative obscurity. “We want to bring resources in for these early-stage companies,” Kent says. She hopes groups like Einstein’s Alley can help get attention and funding to the startups.
The mix of companies in the office park has shifted over the years along with the economy and where investors were putting research dollars. In the early days there was a lot of activity around basic chemistry and green energy. Today there are medical device and biotech companies, including firms that are developing immunotherapy treatments for cancer.
“I’m particularly excited about the cancer research I think is coming of age,” Pam Kent says.