TechVentures Facility Overview
The original Ben Franklin Business Incubator, established in 1983, had been at capacity for most of its quarter century of operation.
In 2007, Lehigh University donated a former Bethlehem Steel lab to Ben Franklin to expand the business incubator. This building, located directly across the street, underwent significant restoration to become Ben Franklin TechVentures. The new facility addressed the region’s growing incubator and wet lab space needs by doubling the available wet lab space and more than tripling the office and dry lab space previously available. Wet lab space is rare in business incubators because of the costs of providing it, but is also vital for many technology-based companies.
Just eighteen months after the grand opening, TechVentures was filled to near capacity. This surge in demand demonstrated the tremendous need for such a facility in the region.
Ben Franklin TechVentures2
Ben Franklin TechVentures2, dedicated on October 20, 2011, is a 47,000 square-foot expansion to the original Ben Franklin TechVentures business technology incubator/post-incubator facility. The facility improves Ben Franklin’s ability to provide resources, workspace, and hands-on support to early-stage technology companies. Ben Franklin TechVentures2 includes wet labs, office/meeting space, and a parking garage. Spillman Farmer Architects served as architect and Allied Building Corporation as construction manager.The addition earned Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. It has a photovoltaic solar array on its rooftop and the latest energy management and light-harvesting technologies manufactured by Coopersburg, PA-based Lutron Electronics integrated throughout. It won first-place national honors in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2011 ENERGY STAR Challenge.
The total construction cost of the Ben Franklin TechVentures2 project exceeded $17,000,000, and was funded in part by a US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) grant of $6,000,000. (Visit www.recovery.gov.)
I hereby certify for the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania that the described ARRA infrastructure investment has received the full review and vetting required by law. As the authorized representative of the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania, I acknowledge that the infrastructure investment for Ben Franklin TechVentures2 is an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars.
—Kathy Ann B. Minnich, Chief Financial Officer
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania