GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — The Nussbaum Center for Entrepreneurship is planning to transform a 200,000 square foot hub for entrepreneurs and small business owners in east Greensboro. 

The Steelhouse, a planned $36 million investment, is expected to create and support up to 600 jobs with dedicated space for entrepreneurs needing manufacturing bays.  

“The highest ceilings are about a 40-foot clear span. Until you stand inside the building, you really cannot understand the scope of the project, and you really can’t understand the size of it,” said Nussbaum Center Vice President Lisa Hazlett. 

She explained that while there are options for entrepreneurs needing office space, manufacturers often don’t have the same luxury.  

“When we say manufacturing, we need light. We mean heavy. We mean advanced. We mean food. We mean artisan. If you are a maker, the Steelhouse is going to serve you,” Hazlett said.  

The first phase of the Steelhouse is a partnership with a private company a $2 million investment to create 20 ghost kitchens. 

The second phase is about 60,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Phase three will add office and community space. 

“This area here would be the year-round farmers market,” Hazlett said, gesturing to a space in the middle of the building. 

The final phase includes commercial kitchen space for wholesale or retail operations. 

“The average household income in our census track is there’s about $25,000 a year. We know that the businesses in our incubator are paying, in some cases, three times that amount in their salary. We have two Greensboro housing communities within walking distance,” Hazlett said Thursday. 

She said the center’s model to support entrepreneurs works, and the Steelhouse is an expansion of the same concept.  

Hazlett said now is the time to grow.  

“The pandemic made everyone realize how important small businesses is to our economy, to our community. 98% of the businesses in Guilford County are small businesses,” she said. 

The center already owns the building, and the organization has submitted applications for city, county and state funding. 

Hazlett says her team also applied for a federal Build Back Better grant.  

Once funding is secured the center can begin the design process. 

Work on phase one is expected to start later this year, and construction on the manufacturing area is expected to begin next year.