At one time, downtown Harrisburg had a warren of narrow streets and alleys populated by small businesses, warehouses, bars and even homes.
Many of those snug streets are gone or have had their character destroyed by imposing buildings. However, tiny Blackberry Street remains, and today marked a new chapter in its 200-year history.
Officials from Harristown Enterprises, Harrisburg University and the city cut the ribbon on the newly christened Blackberry Technology Center, a fully renovated, three-story building that stood vacant for more than three decades.
“This is really incredible,” said Mayor Eric Papenfuse. “If you haven’t already realized it, we’re in the middle of a tech boom here in Harrisburg.”
The building is populated by three companies, one on each floor: Bio HiTech Global, which develops and deploys waste management technology, Harrisburg University’s Geospatial Technology Center, which focuses on unique mapping solutions, and high-tech startup MistIQ Technologies.
“This project further solidifies Harrisburg University’s role in creating technology-based companies in the city and the region as all three tenants in this building are a product of HU’s technology accelerator and incubator focus,” said HU President Eric Darr.
For decades, the 4,500-square-foot brick building housed the Martz Hardware store, but has been vacant for about 30 years as the area fell into dilapidation. The redevelopment was undertaken by local developer Mayur Patel.
“This city is open for business,” said Brad Jones, CEO of Harristown Enterprises, which has redeveloped surrounding blocks. “There’s one exciting project after another, and there are many more ribbon-cuttings to come.”
The Blackberry Technology Center is located at 316 Blackberry St., Harrisburg.