The new owners of a key downtown building are creating a technology-company incubator there.
The incubator, initially with nine young firms, soon will open on the now-vacant top floor of the Wells Fargo building, at Queen and Orange streets.
Operating the incubator will be Aspire Ventures, founded by developer Robert L. Redcay, tech entrepreneur Sam Abadir and others.
“We’re trying to do something unique, even for the East Coast,” said Abadir on Tuesday.
Aspire is an investor in all nine companies, each based in Lancaster.
Combined, they will bring 40 local employees to the 20,000-square-foot space.
The incubator is scheduled to open in mid April, after $350,000 worth of renovations to the third floor, said Redcay.
That will be on top of the $2.65 million Redcay and Abadir spent to buy the building in December, courthouse records show.
The incubator is a step toward “developing a thriving technology economy” in Lancaster, said Abadir.
While Silicon Valley is the best-known hub of tech companies, Abadir said there’s no reason Lancaster can’t become a magnet for tech start-ups too.
“We have all the makings to do what it takes right here,” he said.
In the incubator, Aspire will provide all the tech firms with a physical location plus accounting and legal services.
All the tech firms also will provide help to the other incubator members, according to Abadir.
Abadir is best known for founding Lancaster-based appMobi, 35 E. Orange St., in 2006.
The company sold its division that makes software tools for creating mobile apps to Intel last year for an undisclosed price.
The rest of appMobi, which develops cloud services that enable apps to function, is among the young tech companies going to the incubator.
All nine firms are involved in mobile computing, cloud services or artificial intelligence, according to Abadir. The others are:
MedStatix, which surveys medical patients; Wylie, which helps clients understand their mobile users; DISFA Global, which provides predictive analytics to the financial industry; Powch, which makes an app to help consumers make Internet purchases more securely; Infinistat, which provides real-time analysis of industrial plant data; Play for Good, which provides a tool to teach children by reinforcing their positive behavior; Diamedes, an app for people with diabetes; and VitaVista, which uses mobile technology to provide medical images when MRIs are not available.
Wells Fargo will remain in the building’s first and second floors, according to Redcay.
A Wells Fargo spokesman was unable to estimate the number of employees the bank has there.
Wells Fargo’s lease runs through 2024, the spokesman said.
The brown brick building opened in 1977 as the headquarters for Wells Fargo predecessor National Central Bank.
The bank building filled the corner previously occupied by the YMCA.
National Central and its successors retained ownership until 2004, when Wachovia sold it for $4.1 million to First States Investors.
Last year, the building changed hands twice.
First States sold it in March to National Financial Realty, which sold it to Redcay and Abadir’s Brook Farms Development LLC in December.