Late last month, the Allegheny County Airport Authority revealed that its 195-acre Pittsburgh Airport Innovation Center, known locally as Neighborhood 91, would focus on additive manufacturing (AM).
The Authority and the state of Pennsylvania have invested $22 million in the initial development of Neighborhood 91, which is being positioned as the first innovation campus in the nation to condense and connect all of the supply-chain components of 3D printing and additive manufacturing.
Neighborhood 91—so named because it will be Pittburgh’s 91st distinct neighborhood—is located near two major highways, 18 railways, and the largest inland port in the U.S. It also sits atop the Marcellus Shale, potentially the second-largest natural gas field.
The first 24 acres of Neighborhood 91 have been cleared, and infrastructure and utilities installed. (MS Consultants was involved in the land preparation design.) David Storer, the Authority’s director of business development, tells BD+C that the first phase would include multiple buildings that total between 150,000 and 200,000 sf. He says that there could be six or seven buildings ranging from 15,000 to 35,000 sf each, or fewer, larger buildings. “It’s up to the tenants,” he explains, which will be signing ground leases spanning from 30 to 50 years.
The tenants will also choose their own teams to design, engineer, and construct the buildings within the campus, as well as their equipment suppliers. Storer adds that it’s possible, in later phases, that the Authority would work with a master developer. The buildout of Neighborhood 91 is expected to be three to five years. The completed Airport Innovation Center is expected to create 1,000 permanent jobs.
Barnes Group Advisors, a specialist in AM, serves as the project’s strategic development consultant.
The Pittsburgh Airport Innovation Center will be a complete end-to-end ecosystem that provides material storage, areas for testing and analysis, a supply and recycling system all tenant companies can tap into, and access to the microgrid that will help reduce their operating costs. Its proximity to the airport and other transportation modes should also reduce shipping and receiving costs, and shorten lead times by as much as 80%. (The availability of on-site noble gases could be attractive to prospective additive manufacturers for which up to 60% of their manufacturing costs are related to gas expense.)
“This is something that isn’t happening elsewhere, and we are excited to be the foundation upon which the Neighborhood is built,” says Storer.
See Also: Steely resolve: Carnegie Mellon University fuels Pittsburgh's post-industrial reinvention
Neighborhood 91’s first tenant is Arencibia, an Allentown, Pa.-based supplier and recycler of noble gas, which is used to provide an inert environment for metal manufacturing and 3D printing. Arencibia, which operates 14 facilities, is also a partner in this campus project, as it will be supplying argon gas to the Innovation Center’s other tenants.
Its president and CEO, Joseph Arencibia, says his company’s recycling contract agreements typically are for 15-year terms. As for site construction on the campus, he says his company hasn’t chosen its Building Team yet. He explains that most of the space his company needs at Neighborhood 91 will be for a gas-recycling process plant whose footprint will be between 3,000 and 5,000 sf on a concrete pad. Beyond that, Arencibia will have building space of around 2,000 sf to house its offices, control room, spare parts, etc.
Storer, the Authority’s business development director, says that Neighborhood 91 can be seen as a modern continuation of Pittsburgh’s “historic strength” in manufacturing. It also takes advantage of Pittsburgh’s academic resources, as the University of Pittsburgh has agreed to help guide this project and to provide research power in engineering and AM. Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher was instrumental in moving the Innovation Center forward.
Storer sees the campus as a “continuum” with Hazelwood Green, the 178-acre redevelopment of abandoned steel mills into a 264,000-sf R&D mecca for robotics, AI, and other cutting-edge technologies.
Neighborhood 91 is the latest innovation from the Allegheny County Airport Authority. Its collaboration with researchers at Carnegie Mellon University resulted in the creation of the NavCog app to help vision-impaired travelers navigate airports. The Authority’s partnership with the tech firm Zensors helped create an AI-powered system that estimates TSA wait times to an accuracy unmatched in the airport industry.
Engineers | Jun 5, 2023
How to properly assess structural wind damage
Properly assessing wind damage can identify vulnerabilities in a building's design or construction, which could lead to future damage or loss, writes Matt Wagner, SE, Principal and Managing Director with Walter P Moore.
Cladding and Facade Systems | Jun 5, 2023
27 important questions about façade leakage
Walter P Moore’s Darek Brandt discusses the key questions building owners and property managers should be asking to determine the health of their building's façade.
Office Buildings | May 15, 2023
Sixteen-story office tower will use 40% less energy than an average NYC office building
This month marks the completion of a new 16-story office tower that is being promoted as New York City’s most sustainable office structure. That boast is backed by an innovative HVAC system that features geothermal wells, dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) units, radiant heating and cooling, and a sophisticated control system to ensure that the elements work optimally together.
AEC Tech Innovation | May 12, 2023
Meet Diverge, Hensel Phelps' new ConTech investment company
Thai Nguyen, Director of Innovation with Hensel Phelps, discusses the construction giant's new startup investment platform, Diverge.
University Buildings | May 5, 2023
New health sciences center at St. John’s University will feature geothermal heating, cooling
The recently topped off St. Vincent Health Sciences Center at St. John’s University in New York City will feature impressive green features including geothermal heating and cooling along with an array of rooftop solar panels. The geothermal field consists of 66 wells drilled 499 feet below ground which will help to heat and cool the 70,000 sf structure.
Mass Timber | May 3, 2023
Gensler-designed mid-rise will be Houston’s first mass timber commercial office building
A Houston project plans to achieve two firsts: the city’s first mass timber commercial office project, and the state of Texas’s first commercial office building targeting net zero energy operational carbon upon completion next year. Framework @ Block 10 is owned and managed by Hicks Ventures, a Houston-based development company.
AEC Tech | May 1, 2023
Utilizing computer vision, AI technology for visual jobsite tasks
Burns & McDonnell breaks down three ways computer vision can effectively assist workers on the job site, from project progress to safety measures.
Design Innovation Report | Apr 27, 2023
BD+C's 2023 Design Innovation Report
Building Design+Construction’s Design Innovation Report presents projects, spaces, and initiatives—and the AEC professionals behind them—that push the boundaries of building design. This year, we feature four novel projects and one building science innovation.
Design Innovation Report | Apr 19, 2023
HDR uses artificial intelligence tools to help design a vital health clinic in India
Architects from HDR worked pro bono with iKure, a technology-centric healthcare provider, to build a healthcare clinic in rural India.
3D Printing | Apr 11, 2023
University of Michigan’s DART Laboratory unveils Shell Wall—a concrete wall that’s lightweight and freeform 3D printed
The University of Michigan’s DART Laboratory has unveiled a new product called Shell Wall—which the organization describes as the first lightweight, freeform 3D printed and structurally reinforced concrete wall. The innovative product leverages DART Laboratory’s research and development on the use of 3D-printing technology to build structures that require less concrete.