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$30 million Bethlehem project targets tech companies

The Tau Building will offer space for fledgling tech companies.

From the ruins of the Bethlehem Steel, a new technology hub will rise – quite literally.

From the ruins of the Bethlehem Steel, a new technology hub will rise – quite literally.

Dubbed Tau, the new post-incubator workspace will be housed in a former Bethlehem Steel building that once contained the company’s mainframe – a computer that took up an entire room.

“These are the jobs of the 21st century. The fact that they’re happening on Bethlehem’s South Side, it’s a great story,” Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan said.

The Tau Building will occupy the five-story, 120,000-square-foot Bethlehem Steel General Office Building East Annex at the corner of Founders Way and E. Third Street.

The $30 million project will be done in phases, said Callahan. Work on the shell will be first, followed by interior workspace. As the need arises – and it is expected to – more workspace can be added.

“The nice part of the plan is that it’s scalable,” said Callahan.

Funding for the project will be a combination of federal and state economic development dollars.

Plans to renovate the building were devised when city officials saw just how quickly Pi, another post-incubation space in the Cantelmi Building, also on Bethlehem’s South Side, filled up with interested tech companies.

“It’s full with no marketing. We know [start-up tech companies] are out there and that there’s a need. It’s up to us to accommodate them,” said Callahan.

The Pi building offers 9,000 square feet of workspace to tech companies, many of which got their start with Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania in Bethlehem.

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