Tobacco funds to aid city business? Project planned at Lancaster Press site
State Sen. Gibson Armstrong wants to see Lancaster get a portion of Pennsylvania's slice of a nationwide tobacco settlement earmarked for curing disease.
He wants to see that research done here.
Armstrong is seeking $6 million from the state to help start a bio-tech incubator in Lancaster City.
Pennsylvania expects to receive $400 million a year from a liability settlement with the nation's large tobacco companies, and the money has been earmarked for health-related costs and initiatives.
Armstrong, a Refton Republican, is optimistic some of it could come to Lancaster.
Speaking at a political fund-raising breakfast this week, Armstrong said an incubator project could bring 200 jobs to the city and fill the long-vacant Lancaster Press building at Prince and Lemon streets.
"These are the kind of jobs we want. These are young professionals that are highly skilled and highly trained," Armstrong said.
The project is an expansion of one detailed nearly a year ago by city officials and Emerald Asset Management.
Emerald, now located on Oregon Pike, would move its venture capital operation from King of Prussia. The top three or four floors of the 85,000-square-foot building would be devoted to "incubating" start-up businesses, said Ed Pohl, Emerald's chief financial officer/chief operating officer.
Emerald would seek out tiny companies and individuals with big ideas and provide them financing, management support, office space and even housing so they could grow and produce a marketable product.
As those businesses grow, they would be moved out hopefully into the surrounding Lancaster City area and other start-ups would be moved in, Pohl said.
Some of those companies now at Emerald's King of Prussia facility are working to develop new drug delivery systems and genetic research that would fight disease, Pohl said.