CoreStates Closing

Healthcare Start-Up

Crosstown Moves


Leaving Town

Management Moves

Name Changes

Out of Business

Money Raised

Corrections or additions?

These stories by Peter J. Mladineo and Barbara Fox were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on

March 25, 1998. All rights reserved.

Life in the Fast Lane

While one financial giant is scaling back on Scotch

Road, another will build on it. As a result of the $16.1 billion merger

with First Union, CoreStates will close its operations center at 370

Scotch Road in Ewing, and 700 employees will either lose their jobs

or be relocated by November (see details below).

But to the north on Scotch Road, bordering Interstate 95, Merrill

Lynch just got the go ahead to develop the 450 acres now owned by

Bristol-Myers Squibb. Encouraged by unusually strong support from

the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce, the Hopewell Township planning

board unanimously approved the plan that will allow Merrill Lynch

to construct up to 3.5 million square feet of office space, plus a

retail village, a hotel, a conference center, and even space for light


The chamber’s board plans to accelerate the stands it takes on important

issues, says William Mate, chamber president. "When there was

controversy about the sewers, we took a very strong stand favoring

the development of the Merrill Lynch parcel," says Mate, who was

formerly in charge of economic development for Mercer County. "The

planning board was hedging. We wanted to show the value to the whole

region, that if Merrill Lynch went across the border to Newtown, they

would still have the traffic but not the ratables."

The park is expected to generate from $6.4 to $7 million in property

taxes and to yield at least $1 million over and above any costs to

the township for municipal services and new residents’ education costs.

At its completion it would have an assessed value of from $370 to

$400 million.

Mate notes that, over the past four years, the chamber had participated

in at least 100 meetings to try to resolve the sewer dilemma. Hopewell

does not yet have sewers, but whatever sewer choices are available

at the time, Merrill Lynch will have a guaranteed source.

Merrill Lynch now has 20 years to do its full buildout. In the first

stage it will seek site plan approval for eight buildings, each three

or four stories high, totaling 1.2 million square feet of office space

for 3,500 of its own employees. The current plan calls for the buildings

have only limited visibility from the Scotch Road entrance; they will

front a campus-like quadrangle of open space and be accompanied by

four parking garages. Merrill Lynch’s original full-scale plan, as

presented in February, included two retail villages, a recreation

center, and a railroad station.

About 3,500 Merrill Lynch employees will be housed by the first phase,

but eventually the park could hold 10,000 or 11,000 employees, of

which 5,000, at most, would belong to Merrill Lynch.

Some opponents protested that, according to a report done by Rutgers

consultants Richard W. Burchell and David Listokin, just five percent

of these workers would move into the township. Others feared the opposite

— suburban sprawl. To deal with some of these concerns the planning

board hopes to hold a workshop in April on creating town centers.

The board asked Merrill Lynch to address possible traffic problems

at Route 546 at the Pennington Circle. The firm will also donate $135,000

to the township to be used toward the purchase of the 167-acre property

next to its municipal complex. Hopewell plans to keep this $1.2 million

as open space.

Top Of Page
CoreStates Closing

As recently as February 24, John Georgius, president

of First Union, had speculated that, while the most expensive bank

marriage ever would resort in enormous administrative changes, it

would not necessarily result in the closing of the larger of two CoreStates’

buildings at 370 Scotch Road in Ewing, the operations center.

But last week First Union announced that the facility will be closing

by November. This means that 700 employees will either lose their

jobs or be relocated. So far, 325 customer service employees have

been notified that they would be transferred to other First Union

locations, and more departments will be cut in coming weeks. First

Union will also set up several outplacement centers to deal with displaced


One sliver of good news is that the smaller facility, the corporate

headquarters building at 370 Scotch Road, will not close. It will

become the headquarters of First Union’s southern New Jersey operation,

reports William Mate, president of the Mercer County Chamber of Commerce.

There will be a ton more branch closings — although those aren’t

known as of yet. "Approximately 80 will be closed in New Jersey,"

says CoreStates spokesperson Fran Durst, "but the specific branches

have not been announced yet." That decision could be made as soon

as the federal government finishes its review of the merger. But that

timeframe also is uncertain. "It’s hard for everybody here to

be living under that kind of uncertainty too," says Durst. She

reports that "customers are not going to have any changes. This

is going to be a very seamless transition for them."

Potential duplicates of First Union and CoreStates branches can be

found in many central New Jersey communities. Princeton has neighboring

branches on the same block of Nassau Street, and there are nearby

branches on Trenton’s State Street and on Princeton-Hightstown Road

in East Windsor.

The county has "mixed feelings about the outcome," says Mate,

who notes that with the operations center vacant there will now be

a huge piece of freed Class A office space and a horde of new workers

to fill a tight labor market. "There is a building with a lot

of equipment," says Mate. "The other encouraging thing is

that our market is expanding. The opportunity to rehire these people

is very great. In any merger there are always casualties. I think

we’re fortunate to have them minimized in our area."

Top Of Page
Healthcare Start-Up, 379 Princeton Hightstown

Road, Building 2, Cranbury 08512. W. Edward Hammersla III, president

and CEO. 609-371-3000; fax, 609-371-3001. Home page:

Everyone agrees that the cost of health care is driven

at least partly by administrative expenses. Let’s face it, it costs

money to hire the minions who process health care forms.

This new information technology firm, which spells its name in lower

case letters as "," aims to develop a system

to cope with what it terms "exorbitant" administration costs

in the healthcare industries. It is exploring innovative approaches

to using existing technologies such as the Internet, intranets, and

e-commerce in order to realize efficiency and savings in the processing

of claims and payment information.

A company representative says the founders — W. Edward Hammersla

and Dean F. Boyer — have extensive knowledge of integrating technology

systems in order to optimize the performance of business systems.

Gerry Fennelly helped this firm find its 3,500 square foot space,

where it now has a dozen employees.

Top Of Page
Crosstown Moves

Harding Lawson Associates, 14 Washington Park,

Building 2, Princeton Junction 08550. 609-936-0700; fax, 609-936-1020.

The environmental consulting firm moved from building nine to building

two, to a space of "comparable" size, says an employee.

Top Of Page

Tecstar, 51 Stouts Lane, Suite 2, Monmouth Junction

08852. Dennis Su, manager. 732-329-0924; fax, 732-329-6238.

The cellular phone company has moved to Route 27 in Kendall Park.

Top Of Page
Leaving Town

Jurist Begley Reporting Services, 993 Lenox Drive,

Suite 200, Lawrenceville 08648. 609-844-0013; fax, 609-252-1775.

Formerly known as Jurist Reporting Service, this 16-year-old firm

was bought in February by Esquire Communications Ltd. and has moved

to 1515 Locust Street in Philadelphia. The telephones are answered

by the 609 number.

Top Of Page
Management Moves

Michael Baker Corporation, 307 College Road East,

Princeton 08540. James Twomey, regional manager. 609-734-7900; fax,


James Twomey has replaced George Alexandridis, who has retired. A

civil engineer from the University of Pittsburgh, Twomey manages 45

employees who do transportation planning, highway and structural design,

bridge inspection, construction management, and information management


Arts Council of Princeton, 102 Witherspoon Street,

Princeton 08542. Anne Reeves, director. 609-924-8777; fax, 609-921-0008.

Home page:

After nine years Charlotte C. Hussey has left McCarter Theater for

a newly created job here, operations director. The arts center is

in the middle of a capital campaign to raise $3.5 million for renovations

designed by Michael Graves.

Top Of Page
Name Changes

Steelpoint Technologies, 116 Village Boulevard,

Suite 200, Princeton 08540. Kate Carbery, programmer. 609-951-2250;

fax, 609-734-4397.

Icon Consulting Group changed its name to Steelpoint Technologies.

The computer consulting firm specializes in imaging; but its name

was being confused with IKON, the national office supply company,

which was also getting into the imaging business. Kate Carbery, a

programmer for Steelpoint, explains that IKON also gave Icon a slight

monetary inducement to change its moniker.

Top Of Page
Out of Business

Original Princeton Coffee House, 33 Witherspoon

Street, Princeton 08542. 609-252-1616; fax, 609-252-1633.

Owner Steven N. Ripans knew the obstacles but it was, er, a froth

worth foaming. Opening in the former site of Haagen Dazs above Kinkos

on Spring Street in summer of 1995, he hardly had his sign out on

the street when news hit that Starbucks was coming to Nassau Street.

But Ripans and the Original Princeton Coffee Shop persevered, wowing

customers with big cups, lavish desserts, and games. But after more

than two years in business, the coffee shop, the fourth to open in

Princeton (after Small World, Halo Pub, and Bucks County Coffee Company,

respectively), closed.

Top Of Page
Money Raised

United Way of Greater Mercer County, 3131 Princeton

Pike, Building 4, Suite 113, Box 6193, Lawrenceville 08648-0193. Craig

Lafferty, president and chief professional. 609-896-1912; fax, 609-895-1245.

E-mail: Home page:

The United Way has raised $7.06 million in pledges for 1997/98, a

$260,000 increase over last year, says Steven B. Oppen, a vice president

at NEC Research Institute.

Trenton Savings Bank and MetLife Brokerage received the "Spirit

of Caring" awards, and Mary Ann Brown of Princeton Plasma Physics

Laboratory received the second annual Gayle B. Crews Memorial Award,

which honors the former employee of Janssen Pharmaceutica who chaired

United Way campaigns.

Corrections or additions?

This page is published by

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

Facebook Comments