More than 30 representatives from federal, state and local government agencies – including White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Executive Director Scott Turner – recently visited Coatesville for the first Qualified Opportunity Zone Federal Agency Roundtable in the region.
The roundtable explored best practices and communicated assurances that redevelopment resulting from QOZ projects will benefit the community and foster a collaborative partnership with all stakeholders. Discussions highlighted emerging commercial projects happening in Coatesville’s Opportunity Zone, including streetscape improvements, infrastructure and parking, Amtrak/PennDOT train station, Coatesville Gateway, the Flats, The nth Innovation Center, park improvements, and home ownership initiatives. More information on major projects is summarized here.
“Today represented a call to action for a collaborative and multifaceted approach to redevelopment that will help turn the tide in Coatesville,” said Turner. “President Trump and his administration have made it an absolute priority to lift up our forgotten communities and provide opportunities for economic success for all Americans. Our discussions here are a reflection of those continued efforts.”
Turner invited representatives from each of the 14 participating federal agencies to discuss their programs specific to Coatesville’s endeavors.
Following the roundtable discussion, H2O Connected President Susan Springsteen led a tour of 190 West Lincoln Highway. This former Lukens Steel advertising and marketing office building (built in 1902) is being repurposed into The nth Innovation Center, the future home of product development company nth Solutions, H2O Connected (which is the first Qualified Opportunity Zone business in Chester County), and several early-stage companies looking to locate in a like-minded incubation environment. Plans include a second expansion facility to house an engineering lab and manufacturing facility for STEM applications.
“This is a welcome opportunity for Coatesville and community residents,” said Assistant City Manager James Logan. “We have multiple projects lining up that will create a new economic shift – one that residents have been waiting more than 20 years to see.”
“With the understanding that the race isn’t given to the swift, and we’ve endured several setbacks for some time, it’s a blessing to now have the opportunity zone to help us across the finish line,” said Linda Lavender-Norris, City Council President.
“We’re at that tipping point in the city’s economic recovery where we’re fielding more calls than we’re making,” said Sonia Huntzinger, Executive Director of 2nd Century Alliance, “and the QOZ is much of the reason for a renewed interest in Coatesville. It will mean new housing initiatives for first-time home buyers, transportation options for commuters, and jobs from new development. While it won’t happen overnight, our collective vision is to create an economic landscape that is balanced for both business owners and residents who live and work in the city.”