Companies on N3rd Street can now apply for state tax credits - Philly


Mar. 23, 2016 11:00 am

Companies on N3rd Street can now apply for state tax credits

The Keystone Innovation Zone tax credit program is back, and bigger than ever. Mayor Kenney will make the announcement at Arcweb later this morning.

Indy Hall's Alex Hillman and Innovations' Danny Harvith at the N3rd Street groundbreaking in April 2014.

(Photo by Jason Sherman)

Once on the chopping block, the Keystone Innovation Zone tax credit program is now expanding in Philadelphia to include a buzzy part of the tech scene.

The state program, which companies like RJMetrics and Adminovate have championed as part of their reason for staying in Center City, originally included a large swath of the city, like the Navy Yard, much of North Philadelphia, University City and Center City. Now, it includes Old City, from Eighth Street to Front Street, including the area known as N3rd Street. (Actually, the new offices are in the zone. :moneybag:)

Mayor Jim Kenney will announce the news at Chris Cera’s Arcweb, located on N3rd Street, later this morning.

“The inclusion of Old City will bolster the already exciting growth of tech companies we’ve seen on and around N3rd St.,” Kenney said in a statement.

kiz n3rd

The University City KIZ is shown here, with the new part in blue. (Courtesy image)

The effort started under the Nutter administration, during which the city’s Commerce Department worked with the University City Science Center, who runs the University City KIZ program, to get Old City added to the tax-incentivized zone. That involved getting the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Development to approve the change.


It’s a nice little Kenney bump in the tech scene — he’s visiting a tech company on N3rd Street and gets to tout the importance of growing the city’s tech sector. Can’t help but see the resemblance to Nutter, as it feels like exactly the thing he’d do.

In 2015, 21 tech companies, like PeopleLinx, ApprenNet and Curalate, received $1.8 million in University City KIZ tax credits, just over the $1.7 million that 20 startups received in 2014. See a list of the 2015 tax credit awardees here.

2015 was the biggest year for the KIZ to date: the state awarded about $18 million to companies, the highest amount since the program started, said University City Science Center spokeswoman Kristen Fitch. Compare that to in 2012, when half of the $25 million that the state earmarks for the program went unused.

Companies can get up to $100,000 in tax credits each year as part of the program and can either use them or sell them. Apple reportedly bought $2.33 million in tax credits from Pennsylvania companies in 2012.

In June 2014, state lawmakers proposed freezing the KIZ program, along with other incentive programs, but eventually changed their mind.

Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes became's associate editor after reporting on the Philadelphia tech scene for four years. She's co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association Philadelphia chapter and a two-time Philadelphia News Award winner for "Community Reporting of the Year." The Bryn Mawr College grad lives in West Philly, likes her food spicy and wears jumpsuits often.

  • Add in the Camden EDA tax break zones it makes one big tax-incentivized area right in the heart of the region.

  • John Fazio

    When did Olde City become N3rd St?

  • John Fazio

    Because I was accused of being reactionary on twitter I’d like to use this medium to clarify my discontent with this program and its announcement. For transparency sake I will state that I am not a supporter of the KIZ program to begin with and feel that there are far more productive methods to accomplish the stated goals of both KIZ and KOZ programs. However, that is not what I take issue with here.

    N3rd St is not just a brand, it is a community of people. The community is not just composed of tech nerds on North Third St, the community is inclusive of anyone in Philadelphia who feels strong enough about their passions to call themselves a nerd. Whether you are a food nerd, an art nerd, a music nerd, a gamer nerd, or a cosmetology nerd, N3rd St welcomes you with open arms. Philadelphia is unique because of our culture, a culture that values the grassroots and cheers on the underdog, a culture that heralds passion. N3rd St is the brand manifestation of that uniqueness and an inclusive community of people who share those values.

    This KIZ program, however, is exclusive by nature. It is both exclusive to “innovators” (evidently meaning startups and tech businesses) as well as geographically exclusive. My discontent is with a program using the N3rd St name for its benefit while at the same time excluding the majority of the community members.

    N3rd St has come to mean a lot to us as members of the community, especially those of us who have been here in the city for long enough to watch N3rd St grow into a movement that has managed to unite and inspire a notoriously xenophobic and cliquey City. I hope that programs or people who want to take advantage of the brand will at the very least include the entire community, and preferably, everyone.


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