Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gotham Greens broke ground yesterday on the first phase of a 140,000-square-foot greenhouse facility in the Pullman neighborhood on Chicago’s south side. The state-of-the-art indoor farm will be built on vacant land at the former Ryerson industrial site, which is being acquired from Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI), the Pullman-based nonprofit developer.
The site is near Gotham’s existing rooftop greenhouse, the largest commercial one of its kind in the world, on top of the Method soap factory in Pullman Park which opened in 2015. CNI could receive up to $3.35 million in tax increment financing for site preparation and infrastructure. “These are exciting days for Pullman,” said David Doig, president of CNI who credits Pullman’s renaissance with “good bones and great energy.”
Once completed, the greenhouse facility would be the largest ever built in Chicago and will create 60 full-time jobs. The expansion reflects the company’s success growing and selling premium quality produce year-round in technologically advanced indoor farms. The company’s greenhouses yield 30 times more produce per acre than conventional field production while using 10 times less water.
“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,” said Viraj Puri, co-founder and CEO at Gotham Greens. “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.”
“With unparalleled road, rail infrastructure, abundant vacant land, 20-minute proximity to the Loop, complemented by the venerable housing stock and historic buildings, Pullman is becoming the destination where more people are choosing to go to live and work,” said Doig. “Along with great leadership from Alderman Beale and a great partnership with Mayor Emanuel, Pullman is the ‘ultimate comeback’ community.”