Paola Zamudio is bringing an urban touch to suburban Bell Works.

The decision by CEO Roy LaManna gives the former Bell Labs building a coup. He turned down thousands of dollars and a chance to set up shop in Newark so that he could work closer to home.

“What they are doing here is incredible,” LaManna said of the building’s redevelopment.

Vydia, currently crammed into two temporary offices in Bell Works, has 40 employees and plans to grow to 50 by the time it moves into its permanent space on the second floor. It had $5 million in revenue in 2016, and it expects that to grow to as much as $18 million this year.

It is one of several new tenants moving to Bell Works, the 2-million-square-foot building that is being transformed by Somerset Development. Once used by AT&T’s Bell Labs during its monopoly days to do research and development – and win eight Nobel Prizes – the historic building is being turned into one that can house a new generation of cutting-edge companies.

Observers say there is a lot at stake in the project’s success. “I think Bell Works is really important on the New Jersey stage and even the national stage,” said Brian Smiga, founder of Tedx Navesink and a venture capital investor with Alpha Venture Partners. He is on Vydia’s advisory board.

“There’s very few places in the country where venture-backed companies like Vydia can get a long-term, built-out space that’s variable in size and commitment, which is what every hyper-growth company needs,” he said.

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