Coatesville gets first Keystone Innovation Zone designation

The nth Innovation Center will be Coatesville’s first Keystone Innovation Zone.

COATESVILLE – The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, through the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), has designated 190 W. Lincoln Highway as a Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ), the first KIZ in Coatesville. The property is home to the nth Innovation Center. Its lead tenant, nth Solutions LLC, a vertically integrated product development, manufacturing and business incubation company, will provide the support structure for this new concept-to-commercialization ecosystem.

“190 W. Lincoln Highway represents an important milestone as the first major commercial construction in the City of Coatesville during the past 50 years,” says Ed Simpson, Coatesville City Council member, First Ward. “The KIZ designation provides a significant boost to the project by generating even greater appeal to businesses that want to plant roots at the nth Innovation Center. Its highly anticipated opening will be a source of opportunity in terms of business development, job creation, and renewed pride in our city.”

“The KIZ program is living up to its original intention of sparking entrepreneurial activity in cities and rural regions like ours,” says Coatesville City Manager James Logan. “We hope our relationship with nth Solutions, DCED, and the Chester County Economic Development Council’s i2n initiative will attract new partners from educational institutions, light manufacturing, and Fintech companies to our area. The economic and job creation impact alone could have a ripple effect lasting 10 years or more. City Council is pleased to see the progress ahead and will continue to support initiatives that change the economic landscape of the city.”

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. nth Innovation Center is also the first Qualified Opportunity Zone (QOZ) real estate project in Chester County.

Built in 1902, the original 9000 sq. ft. building previously housed offices for Lukens Steel and has been vacant for 15 years. QOZ investor Proudfoot Capital Advisors purchased the property in December 2019. The building has since been restored, preserving its historic features. The original building will house administrative, marketing and sales offices, a podcast studio, video and photography studio, meeting spaces and kitchen, according to Susan Springsteen, who is spearheading the project. Springsteen is President and CEO of H2O Connected, LLC, a KIZ-eligible company relocating to the center, and the first QOZ business that opened its doors in Chester County. In addition, a two-story, 20,000 sq. ft. expansion building will house an engineering lab, testing facility, light manufacturing and office space, with room for emerging companies to occupy space on the second floor. Details will be presented by Springsteen at the virtual Coatesville City Council meeting on Monday, January 25, starting at 7:30 pm. For information, visit

“The KIZ designation, coupled with benefits from the Qualified Opportunity Zone initiative, provides yet another reason to locate a start-up or early-stage tech company in Coatesville,” says Springsteen. “Because the benefits of these designations last many years, they promote a long-term commitment to the City, encouraging these businesses to become part of the fabric of the community. When we open our doors in March, we will have seven emerging businesses on site and 7500 sq. ft. still available to accommodate additional companies.” According to Springsteen, more than a dozen products will be manufactured from the site, and 45 construction jobs were created. Currently nth Solutions employs 10 full-time and 15 part-time positions, with 25 additional jobs projected in the first 18 months of operation.

Joining nth Solutions at the nth Innovation Center is H2O Connected, a water-tech innovator with multi-patented devices that detect and quantify costly water loss in homes and businesses; 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; Balancing Engineering Solutions LLC, a Maryland company that is relocating to Coatesville; and a local Coatesville entrepreneur.

“Coatesville was an ideal fit for us to relocate and plant roots,” says Springsteen. “It’s a close-knit city that has incredible energy and personality yet is still small enough to enable direct access to decision makers. We appreciated Coatesville’s culture of collaboration and received tremendous support from city management, City Council, 2nd Century Alliance, the Coatesville Redevelopment Authority and more. While there are a number of business reasons to develop in Coatesville, one of the intangibles is the opportunity to be involved with this exciting new chapter in Coatesville’s growth, which includes impacting people’s lives and creating jobs. The fact that the DCED approved our KIZ application so quickly—less than 10 business days—underscores the confidence the Commonwealth has in Coatesville and how thoroughly the Chester County Economic Development Council prepared the application and advocated for us every step of the way.”

“The Chester County Economic Development Council has been working with the City of Coatesville and its businesses for many years, from financing to site selection to workforce training, and we are delighted to now see innovation and entrepreneurship become other aspects of that partnership,” says Patrick Hayakawa, VP at CCEDC, who oversees the Ideas x Innovation Network (i2n), a CCEDC initiative charged with advancing innovation and tech-based entrepreneurship in Chester and Delaware counties.

“Our i2n board unanimously supported this new KIZ designation. The approval is great news not just for the City and the county, but for innovators and entrepreneurial companies across the region as well. Between the KIZ and QOZ designations, the infrastructure and resources of the center itself, and the assets of Coatesville and the surrounding area, we have the makings of an innovation center unlike any other in the mid-Atlantic region.”

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