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High-tech center coming to Bethlehem

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Feb 14 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 15 2013 06:14:17 PM CST

High-tech center coming to Bethlehem

BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

From steel rivets, to robots. Bethlehem is making the switch from its industrial past to a hi-tech future.

Looking into the future while viewing the past. Renderings of Tau, a possible new tech hub at the East Annex of the old Bethlehem Steel General Office building shows just that.
A picture paradox but one that Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan says is needed.

"Clearly we are moving from the post industrial age manufacturing jobs to jobs for the 21'st century," he said.

Callahan believes a tidal wave of tech jobs can come to the Christmas city.

"Some people are viewing videos, some are looking at videos."

A phrase said inside PI:Partnership for Innovation tech hub. A South Bethlehem hot bed for tech companies.

"PI has been, great we love it here," Brayden Johnson McCormick.

7 companies share space inside the cities 3rd high tech center. Many hatched from Ben Franklin TechVentures on Lehigh University's mountaintop campus.

A tech incubator that since 1983 has helped to launch 55 companies raking in annual revenue of over 600 million dollars and creating over 5-thousand jobs.

"Not only new jobs but family sustaining jobs," said Laura Eppler of TechVentures.

But what makes Bethlehem the hot ticket for high tech?

"I don't think it hurts to have a couple of colleges and universities here," said Tom Stine.

Proximity to the east coast plays a part.
But Stine, who runs an expanding online video production company inside PI, says the south sides atmosphere play a role too.

"The proximity to a bohemian village area as opposed to an office park is very desirable," he went on to say.

Here dress codes are thrown out the window, replaced with communal creativity.

"This is not a large corporate environment it's very different. It's very mobile, very agile and we make things happen quickly," Brayden Johnson McCormick said.

Will that translate to Tau, which is PI times two. Technically these folk hope to bank on it.