The owner of a North Center industrial complex will soon be adding a touch to the building that is less bricks and mortar and more green and growing.
The New York firm, BrightFarms Inc., will add a 45,000-square-foot greenhouse on top of Bradley Business Center—a 350,000-square-foot structure in the 2500 block of Bradley Place, near the intersection of West Waveland and North Campbell avenues and across from the Lane Tech campus.
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It will be the largest rooftop farm in Chicago, according to a BrightFarms news release, and is expected to grow up to 500,000 pounds of food annually. Those crops come with an estimated worth of $1.5 million, the release said.
“BrightFarms is a great addition to both the Bradley Business Center, and the 47th Ward,” 47th Ward Ald. Ameya Pawar said. “Its presence affirms the significance of the city’s zoning code amendments for urban agriculture.”
The company signed a 10-year lease for the rooftop area, which is just outside the Roscoe Village neighborhood borders.
BrightFarms CEO Paul Lightfoot said he looks forward to continuing agricultural momentum that's already present in the area.
“We’re thrilled to join the city of Chicago, which has a strong tradition of urban agriculture and understands the value of local production,” he said in the release. “We can’t wait to bring year-round local produce to one of the city’s retailers.”
The Chicago farm is expected to begin operating next year. As the previously nonprofit and now for-profit company has done in other areas, BrightFarms plans to negotiate a distribution agreement with a grocery chain, Crain's reports. That agreement would task the chain with selling produce from the farm in about 10 stores daily.
BrightFarms is in talks with several supermarket companies, but has declined to name them.