More than 100 people gathered Tuesday for the official opening of the nth Innovation Center at an early 20th-century building that once embodied the heart of innovation in Coatesville. Located at 190 West Lincoln Highway, the nth Innovation Center is the first Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ) real estate project in Chester County.
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,” said 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, a vertically integrated product development, manufacturing, and business incubation company, which will provide the support structure for this new concept-to-commercialization ecosystem.
Additional tenants include:
- H2O Connected, a water-tech innovator with multi-patented devices that detect and quantify nearly every type of water loss problem that can occur in a tank toilet and cause a high-water bill. Springsteen is President and CEO of the KIZ-eligible company that is also the first QOZ business that opened its doors in Chester County
- BioForce Analytics, a provider of motion measurement devices for industry and education applications
- Priority Green, a leader in traffic signal preemption products for emergency vehicles
- Balanced Engineering Solutions LLC, a Maryland company that has relocated to Coatesville, developing multi-patented sensor technology for the auto industry
- Pression LLC, a development stage medical device company that uses smart compression therapy to combat the debilitating effects of heart disease
- Proudfoot Capital Advisors, a developer of QOZ projects
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), designated this location 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.
“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, 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, who were among a number of dignitaries in attendance, presented a citation on behalf of the county.