With the coming demolition of 501 Forrestal Road, a 25,000-square-foot office building known as the New Guggenheim Building, several businesses have moved or soon will.
The building, according to Picus Associates, the property manager, will be torn down in a few months to make way for an expansion of ReCAP, the joint Princeton University/Columbia University/New York Public Library book repository.
The ReCAP building currently houses 9 million volumes and is expected to receive another 5 million books over the next couple years, according to Curt Emmich of Picus.
ReCAP already is the second-largest book repository in the world, behind the Library of Congress. Emmich says the New York Public Library is driving the need for the expansion, as almost all the coming volumes will come from there.
To economize on space, Emmich says, ReCAP is expected to eliminate redundant titles and editions. Such downsizing creates occasional bouts of friction among the three entities, each of which tends to bristle at the thought that its own version of a book would be the one removed.
“There’s still a sense that even though it’s all digitized, you never throw a book away,” Emmich says. The building and its campus, Princeton Corporate Center, are owned by Princeton University.
Most of the businesses that had 501 Forrestal as an address last year either are operating elsewhere or are looking for a new home. Twin Leaf, which develops atomic magnetometers for geological surveys and finding shipwrecks, remains at 501. Its founder, Princeton University physicist Tom Kornack, said “we are not advertising to people where we are going at this time.”
Knite Inc., which develops high-powered ignition systems to replace traditional spark plugs, also remains at 501 and also has not said where it is going.
Two companies still looking for a place to settle are RAS Labs, which develops materials for prosthetics, and Studio Artform, an architecture and design firm, are still in business, but operating virtually until new space is found.
Lenore Rasmussen, the founder and owner of RAS Labs, said she has lab space at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in Plainsboro, but still wants to find a formal space.
Recent departures from 501 Forrestal Road include:
* CRESA Partners, a firm that advises commercial real estate tenants. CRESA had been at 501 Forrestal for about seven years until a few weeks ago, when it moved to 103 Carnegie Center.
* FXO Inc., an engineering consulting firm specializing in design for spacecraft components, is now operating at 213 Hampshire Drive.
* Princeton Payment Systems, an enterprise-level financial software and E-commerce software developer, now operates at 116 Village Boulevard.
Though several companies have left or are just about to vacate 501 Forrestal Road, Emmich is heartened to know that those businesses that have gone have stayed in the Princeton region.
A decade ago the building served as an incubator for businesses formed through Princeton University (notably Princeton Power Systems, which started at 501 Forrestal with little more than a desk and now operates at 3490 Route 1 and has a lab at the Sarnoff center). Emmich is glad to know that these businesses are keeping regional ties. “We haven’t lost any to other states,” he says. “It’s important that they’re staying.”