Section Title

Innovation Tower

"Emerging technology has been bubbling under the surface of Erie's economic development activity. By creating a physical, iconic point of entry, Innovation Tower signifies the strength of the collaborative community working hard to make Erie an ideal city to invent, scale, and grow the next industry disruptor."

-Flagship Opportunity Zone Advisory Committee 

Project: Innovation Tower
Organization: Erie Innovation District

About Erie Innovation District

Following the guidance of (former) Centennial Scholar, Bruce Katz, Brookings Institute, Erie created an innovation district. "Innovation Districts are geographic areas where leading-edge anchor institutions and companies cluster and connect with start-ups, business incubators and accelerators."

The Erie Innovation District (EID) is a non-profit 501(c)3 dedicated to creating a new downtown industry and reimaging a new jobs base in the downtown. EID has already successfully launched a Smart City pilot along with a technology acceleration program within the Flagship Opportunity Zone that has gained the attention of entities and consortiums including: The National League of Cities – City Innovation Ecosystem program and Mastercard's City Possible. The global startups being drawn to this footprint have been featured recently at the Computer Electronics Show and South by Southwest along with being specifically called out as high interest in articles by Forbes and Techcrunch.

Opportunity: Innovation Tower

In the heart of the Flagship Opportunity Zone, the Erie Innovation District (EID) proposes to establish an iconic headquarters called the "Innovation Tower" from an under-utilized historic landmark. This location was selected to be a centralizing facility along a technology corridor at the heart of the City on an East/West line that will integrate startups, midcap technology businesses, and local universities.

Specifically, EID intends to redevelop real estate in this emerging technology corridor starting in 2019-2020 timeframe. EID expects to deliver Class A commercial office space and shape a common area façade to create an outward sense of place along two City blocks. At this time, EID has access on a very low-cost, 75-year lease to over 36,000 square/feet at the historic property and is actively negotiating the acquisition of an additional 9,000 square feet in adjacent buildings for renovation and renewal.  Redevelopment will include adaptive and smart facility interior designs with a mix of open floor plans and offices for high-tech firms. This project intends to incorporate a small integration and demonstration laboratory within the footprint and, also, offer high-speed broadband services to its membership making this a showcase location for business.


This current project team comprises three organizations at this time: Erie Innovation District (Project Lead); Velocity Network (IT Services), and Weber Murphy Fox (Land Planning and Development).  The EID estimates the total project cost at approximately $15 million.  The EID is looking for private investment partners to begin development of the historic downtown project.  There are anticipated to be two major measures of social impact from this Opportunity Zone project: net new jobs and rising wages in lowest median income zip code in PA.

For more information about the project, please submit the following contact information:

Email Address
Phone Number

Return to Main Category