More than 100 people gathered July 28 for the official opening of the nth Innovation Center at an early 20th-century building that once embodied the heart of innovation in Coatesville. i2n petitioned the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), to designate the location at 190 West Lincoln Highway as a Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ), the first KIZ in Coatesville. The KIZ designation offers technology businesses in operation fewer than eight years the opportunity to qualify for tax credits based on increased year-over-year revenue.
Built in 1902, the original 9,000 square foot building previously housed the marketing and sales offices for Lukens Steel and had been vacant for 15 years. Developed by Proudfoot Capital, the nth Innovation Center is the first major private commercial construction project in Coatesville in over fifty years. The ribbon cutting ceremony marked the unveiling of a remarkable space that preserves the history of the building while fusing it with the future.
“Since the final piece of steel was installed in the new expansion building, we have been eagerly awaiting this day,” said Susan Springsteen, Cofounder of nth Solutions and President of H2O Connected. “The nth Innovation Center is a concept-to-commercialization ecosystem that will support regional entrepreneurship, inspire the next generations of innovators, and attract like-minded thought leaders to the city.”
The historic portion of the building now houses administrative, marketing and sales offices, meeting and collaboration spaces, a kitchen, and soon, a podcast studio. In addition, a two-story, 20,000 sq. ft. expansion building houses an engineering lab, prototyping and testing facility, light manufacturing and office space, with room for emerging companies to occupy space on the second floor.
“What this dedicated team brought to Coatesville is something we have never seen before,” says James Logan, Coatesville City Manager. “This project goes hand-in-hand with the vision of our redevelopment initiative and marks the return to restoring the innovation engine in Coatesville.”
Springsteen and her business partner Eric Canfield are the lead tenants in the building. They are the co-founders of nth Solutions LLC, a vertically integrated product development, manufacturing and business incubation company, which will provide the support structure for this new concept-to-commercialization ecosystem.
“By preserving Coatesville’s history and embracing its future, the nth Innovation Center truly embodies our economic development goals here in Coatesville,” said Gary Smith, President and CEO of the Chester County Economic Development Council. “This is a proud day for residents and businesses in Coatesville, and it’s only the beginning.”
At Tuesday’s event, Chester County Commissioners Marian Moskowitz and Michelle Kichline presented a citation on behalf of the county. They were among a host of dignitaries in attendance, including Coatesville City Council President Linda Lavender-Norris, First Ward City Council Member Ed Simpson and other Council members, Coatesville City Manager James Logan, Coatesville 2nd Century Alliance Executive Director Sonia Huntzinger, Coatesville Redevelopment Authority Chair Joe DiSciullo, Chester County Economic Development Council President Gary Smith, project designer Brian Cheatle from Cerminara Architects, and general contractor Iron Hill Construction Management.