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About Us - History
Progress to Date
Initial infrastructure development began in 1997, with the utilities and first section of the entrance road – Knowledge Parkway – being completed by fall of 1998.
Aalborg Industries (now CMI Energy) became the first tenant of the Knowledge Park, taking occupancy of approximately 41,000 square feet of the first 70,000-square-foot, multi-tenant building (5300 Knowledge Parkway) in January 1999. Erie Power Technologies’ risk in becoming the very first tenant – and making that commitment based completely on faith – allowed the development to proceed. Erie Insurance Group, one of Erie County’s largest employers, also housed over 250 employees in the park beginning in 2005, freeing up space at their downtown Erie complex for additional employees.
Knowledge Center was completed in September 1999 as well. Its purpose is to provide conference and meeting facilities primarily for the use of Knowledge Park tenants. The Center contains several conference rooms with videoconferencing and multimedia capabilities. The system utilizes advanced output devises such as flat high definition TV screens on both the fixed system in the Jordan Room and the portable system, which can be used in the two smaller conference rooms. While not quite studio quality, the system offers quality audio and no video choppiness. The Center also houses the offices of the Economic Development Corporation and the Harborcreek Historical Society.
Knowledge Center and Knowledge Park were dedicated by then Governor Tom Ridge on October 18, 1999, at which time Governor Ridge also announced continued State funding for the next phase of the project.
Construction of 5451 Merwin Lane, a multi-tenant research and office facility, was completed in January of 2001. Several tenants now occupy the facility, with operations ranging from research to development.
Construction was completed in July 2001 on the third multi-tenant facility; a 66,000-square-foot building which is located at 5340 Fryling Road. Our first tenant, VertMarkets Inc. immediately took occupancy of 14,100 square feet and has grown from 40 employees to 77. The Ben Franklin Center of Excellence for eBusiness and Advanced Information Technology (eBizITPA) joined VertMarkets in November 2002, with 5,000 square feet. of space on the second floor of the building. Two additional tenants, Penn State’s iMBA program and Ben Franklin Technology Partners, also are located in the facility. Since then, additional companies have become tenants. Click here for a complete listing.
Penn State Behrend’s new Child Care Center was completed in October 2001, and is located on Merwin Lane. The Center provides quality childcare and offers preferred placement for children of Knowledge Park tenants.
The newest feature of the park to open is the pedestrian bridge which spans the Jordan Run gorge. This bridge, constructed of steel with wood decking, spans 230 feet across the 70-foot deep gorge and connects Knowledge Park to academic core of Penn State Behrend’s campus via a paved, lighted pathway system. In addition to providing a scenic overlook, the bridge provides safe, off-street access for Penn State Behrend students to walk to their internship assignments in the park, allowing easy access for interns and faculty members to collaborate with park tenants.
Where Is The Park Headed?
The intersection of Knowledge Parkway and the newly constructed Eastside Connector Highway was fully opened in the second quarter of 2003, making Knowledge park literally within feet of I-90, which will be a major marketing strength for the Park and improve access tremendously. Knowledge Park is now within 10 minutes of downtown Erie via the Connector.
A new road, Technology Drive, was completed in 2005, running along the south rim of the Jordan Run gorge, providing access to Penn State Behrend’s $30 million Research and Economic Development Center, and seven additional lots for park development.
The development was planned and continues to be managed in a way that is as “environmentally friendly” as possible. Every tree that can be used on a particular building site is maintained and protected. Nature has been allowed to take its course without interference from our contractors or tenants.
Numerous small wetland areas on the site have been maintained and the topography of the land is being incorporated into the development, which enhances the feel that the Park is carved out of the woods. A fully accessible pathway system, consisting of approximately 1½ miles of trails, winds its way through the park and is available to tenants and the public for rollerblading, walking, jogging, biking.
Bottom Line Results To Date
As of 2013, Knowledge Park tenants now employ a total of approximately 500 highly skilled workers – the most since its inception. Numerous Penn State Behrend students and faculty members are actively working, researching, and creating new applications for technology with Knowledge Park tenants. Total investment in Knowledge Park has reached over $40 million dollars, with approximately $12.5 million of that coming from state and federal grants and the rest from private sources.
Penn State Behrend and GEIDC have attempted to create a unique atmosphere in Knowledge Park. One which fosters creative thinking and technology development within the tenant businesses and one where education and business meet to develop technology and ideas that will provide quality, high paying jobs for our children right here in Erie, Pennsylvania.