Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan announced plans today to build a new technology center on the second floor of the Cantelmi hardware store on E. Fourth Street in the South Side.
Pi: Partnership for Innovation will be an incubator for new technology businesses looking to get off the ground. The 8,000-square-foot space will be designed to allow businesses grow into several spaces as they expand.
The mayor would like to invest at least $500,000 and up to $700,000 in the project from the city’s Enterprise Zone Fund to renovate the space for the project.
Next week, City Council’s Finance Committee will look at the project and a request to transfer the proceeds from the sale of the city’s first two technology centers into a fund that will pay for this project and a new revolving loan fund that Callahan hopes will entice new businesses to invest in the city’s Keystone Innovation Zone in the South Side.
Part of the plan would involve the construction of a new elevator tower on the four-story former silk mill, which now houses the hardware store and the Yoga Loft.
“Pi grew out of a creative solution to a difficult problem – the lack of space in our very successful KIZ,” Callahan said. “The KIZ, which was established in 2004, has been an important draw for businesses to Bethlehem.
“The state established these zones to create ‘knowledge neighborhoods’ around college campuses and connect the business community with the talent graduating from schools.”