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AMS Spring 2023

House 3D Printing Firm Uproots Resident’s Home, Job in Pennsylvania

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Black Buffalo 3D Corporation, dedicated to additive construction, is paving ground for a new 150,000-square-foot facility in Smithfield Township, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately for workers and residents in the area, the $35.7 million project will mean shutting down a small airport sitting on top of the 106 acres purchased by the company, as well as the demolition of homes. While Black Buffalo believes it will create 71 new jobs with the site, it is a somewhat problematic start for the new firm.

Black Buffalo 3D CEO/COO Michael Woods watching a NexCon 3D printer produce a sample home. Image courtesy of PR Newswire.

Area resident Vicky Keeney told local news that she was given a notice alerting her to the demolition of her house, where she had lived for the past 12 years. She is also losing her job at the airport. “I feel like my whole life has been uprooted,” Keeney said to WFMZ-TV. Her loss of employment was announced at a meeting held at the airport. “We went to that and we learned that they were shutting the airport down.”

Smithfield Township resident Vicky Keeney says Black Buffalo’s new additive construction facility will see her home torn down and her job lost. Image courtesy of WFMZ-TV.

Black Buffalo 3D Corporation is a subsidiary of Big Sun Holdings Group, Inc, which is in turn a U.S. subsidiary of HN Inc. co. Ltd., previously known as Hyundai BS&C Co. Ltd. Black Buffalo develops large-scale concrete 3D printers, the NexCon I for one-to-two story buildings and the NexCon II for four story buildings and structures over 1,5000 square feet in size.

Correction 5/3/22: Black Buffalo describes itself as a “New York-based, US affiliate and member of HN family of companies, formerly known as HYUNDAI BS&C Co., Ltd under Big Sun Holdings Group, Inc.” Though the CEO of HYUNDAI BS&C Co., now HN Inc, is the grandson of the founder of Hyundai Group, it is unclear that HN Inc is related to the larger Hyundai Group. It seems as though Hyundai BS&C may have worked with Hyundai Group, but it does not seem accurate to call it a subsidiary. 

Black Buffalo bought the land for three times what it was sold for in 2017 as part of a strategy to relocate from its former headquarters in New Jersey. The company received a funding proposal from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) for a $2.4 million Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) loan, as well as a $284,000 Pennsylvania First grant and a $142,000 workforce development grant. It was also told to apply for the department’s Manufacturing Tax Credit (MTC) and Research and Development Tax Credit (R&D) programs.

“Our team is excited to help create new opportunities in Pennsylvania and make the area a global hub for 3D construction technology,” said Michael Woods, CEO and COO of Black Buffalo 3D. “We look forward to seeing Black Buffalo 3D printers from PA used to print formless precast, create commercial and residential buildings and help create sustainable infrastructure throughout the world.”

“We are thrilled to welcome Black Buffalo 3D to Pennsylvania,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “Our investment in this innovative company, which is helping to make the 3D construction printing of affordable and sustainable housing more accessible, is a true step towards the future. The decision by Black Buffalo 3D to locate their manufacturing operation in Monroe County and create highly skilled jobs is a win for the local community and Pennsylvania as a whole, and I look forward to seeing their continued growth and success here.”

A redevelopment proposal was then discussed at a Township meeting in October. According to a supervisor, the airport may not be permanently closed. The real estate developer involved with the project said that some businesses on the property will continue operating, including a distillery.

“Well, I’m losing my home and I’m losing my job,” Keeney said.

Black Buffalo intends to 3D print at least one home in the area, but it is unclear what will happen to Keeney. We’ve reached out to the company for comment on the news.

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