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 specifically addresses 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, demonstrating the tremendous demand for such a facility in the region.
Ben Franklin TechVentures2
A major facility expansion, dubbed Ben Franklin TechVentures2, opened in October 2011 and added 47,000 square feet to the existing building, including wet labs, office/meeting space and parking deck. Spillman Farmer Architects served as architect and Allied Building Corporation as construction manager.
The addition is projected to create as many as 200 sustainable, highly paid technology jobs and retain 100 more jobs at new start-up companies in its first three years. Twenty-nine early-stage firms, employing 158 people, are currently located in Ben Franklin TechVentures. Since 1983, Ben Franklin TechVentures and its predecessor, the Ben Franklin Business Incubator, have graduated 54 successful companies, which grossed more than $408 million in annual revenue last year and created more than 5,200 jobs.
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