Startups

This new tech hub brings 30K square feet to companies in Chester County

Coatesville's nth Innovation Center is the second dedicated space the county has gotten for tech and life science companies since 2021.

Interns working with mentors at nth Innovation Lab's engineering lab.

(Courtesy photo)

Update: Additional comment from nth Solutions' Susan Springsteen has been added. (7/7/21, 6:30 p.m.)

Following the opening of 23,000-square-foot life sciences incubator 8HUB in Malvern last year, Chester County is welcoming another innovation-dedicated center with hopes that it primes the region for continued economic growth.

On July 1, developers Proudfoot Capital opened Coatesville’s nth Innovation Center, a nearly 30,000-square-foot, mixed-use space for early-stage companies. A 9,000-square-foot building first built in 1902 and previously occupied by Lukens Steel saw a 20,000-square-foot, two-story addition.

The update brought an engineering lab, a prototyping and testing facility, and space for light manufacturing and offices. There’s also dedicated room for “emerging” companies to grow on the second floor.

At 190 W. Lincoln Highway, the center is the first Qualified Opportunity Zone real estate project in the county, and a significant one for the formerly industrial city.

Business partners Susan Springsteen and Eric Canfield are cofounders of nth Solutions LLC, a product development, manufacturing and business incubation company that will support the nth Innovation Center’s tenants. nth Solutions and nth Innovation Center are separate entities.

nth Innovation Center’s manufacturing center. (Courtesy photo)

“Since the final piece of steel was installed in the new expansion building, we have been eagerly awaiting this day,” said Springsteen, who is also president of water tech company H2O Connected, in a release. “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.”

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Read more about plans for the incubator via The Philadelphia Inquirer’s 2021 reporting.

(Springsteen’s nth Solutions filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 Subchapter 5 protection in March 2021, and she said at the time the move would not affect the nth Innovation Center’s development. The filing was due to “complications from the COVID 19 pandemic,” and nth Solutions emerged from bankruptcy in January 2022 “without any impact on its operations or development,” Springsteen told Technical.ly via spokesperson.)

Tenants of the new space include Proudfoot and H2O Connected, as well as BioForce Analytics, a motion measurement device company; Priority Green, makers of traffic signal preemption products for emergency vehicles; Balanced Engineering Solutions LLC, a Maryland-based sensor technology  company that recently relocated to Coatesville; and medical device company Pression LLC.

nth Solutions LLC’s Susan Springsteen cutting the ribbon at the opening of nth Innovation Center. (Photo by Valley Creek Productions)

Patrick Hayakawa, the VP of innovation and emerging technologies for the Chester County Economic Development Council, told Technical.ly last year that with the new nth Innovation Center and nearby 8HUB, the county will contribute to its own growth by investing in innovation.

“Silicon Valley is held up as an archetype to aspire to and we can all do it. All communities can have a shot at this and it’s also about keeping character. Coatesville has a proud history and personality. It’s a whole number of reasons why businesses want to locate there,” he said. “I believe even in a COVID world, businesses want to go where businesses are. That sense of place is what you will get at that innovation center.”

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