U.S.: Gotham Greens breaks ground on second Chicago greenhouse

March 16 , 2018

U.S. urban agricultural company Gotham Greens has broken ground on its second Chicago greenhouse, as it continues its rapid expansion in the country.

The 140,000-square-foot facility is in the Pullman neighborhood, which is also where the company's existing Chicago rooftop greenhouse is located.

The new facility will produce vegetables and herbs year-round for local retailers, restaurants and institutional foodservice customers.

On Thursday Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined Gotham Greens founders Viraj Puri and Eric Haley and community leaders in Pullman to break ground on what will be the city's largest agricultural greenhouse.

It is expected to create 60 permanent and 70 construction jobs.

“Gotham Greens’ decision to double down and build a second greenhouse is a vote of confidence in Chicago and another sign of the economic renaissance underway in the historic Pullman community," Mayor Emanuel said.

“Pullman's historic past is matched only by its growing economic resurgence today, thanks to partners like Gotham Greens.”

Using modern growing methods that include hydroponics, evaporative cooling systems and renewable energy resources, the US$12.6 million complex is expected to produce approximately 30 times the yield of conventional agriculture per acre while using 10% of the water.

Gotham Greens said the expansion reflects its success growing and selling premium quality produce year-round in technologically advanced indoor farms.

Besides its Pullman locations, Gotham Greens currently owns three greenhouses in New York City and has "several facilities in development in other US cities".

The company employs over 160 people and partners with community organizations to support job training, wellness, and environmental education programs in both Chicago and New York.

“Thanks to the leadership and hard work of Mayor Emanuel, Alderman Beale, the City of Chicago, CNI, and all of our community partners, Pullman has been a great place to innovate and do business,” Puri said.

“We’re producing millions of pounds of fresh produce annually for national and local grocery stores and foodservice operators across Chicagoland, far exceeding our expectations. This is the ideal time for us to expand our presence in the Midwest, and Pullman is the ideal place for us to do so.”

In Pullman the company currently operates a 75,000-square-foot greenhouse on the roof of the nearby Method Products factory, which opened in 2015.

The 6.2-acre project site of the new greenhouse was occupied until 2008 by a Ryerson Steel plant and later acquired by Pullman Park LLC.

Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives plans to acquire and prepare the site for US$3.68 million and subsequently sell the property to Gotham Greens, which will complete the greenhouse’s vertical construction. Approximately US$3.4 million in Tax Increment Financing assistance for the site preparation work is pending City Council approval.

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