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Company creates more green jobs in Chicago

Posted on March 27, 2018

One company is expanding and creating more green jobs in Chicago.

Gotham Greens founders Viraj Puri and Eric Haley and community leaders in Pullman will break ground on what will be Chicago’s largest agricultural greenhouse. The 140,000-square-foot Gotham Greens greenhouse near 107th Street and Doty Avenue will create approximately 60 permanent and 70 construction jobs and strengthen Pullman’s ongoing renaissance.

“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.”

The new facility will produce local, premium quality vegetables and herbs year-round for retailers, restaurants and institutional foodservice customers. Using state-of-the art growing methods that include hydroponics, evaporative cooling systems and renewable energy resources, the $12.6 million complex is expected to produce approximately 30 times the yield of conventional agriculture per acre while using 10 percent of the water.

The expansion reflects the company’s 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. Gotham Greens 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,” Viraj Puri, co-founder and CEO at Gotham Greens 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.”

The project will be Gotham Greens’ second greenhouse 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.

“Pullman’s renewal is growing stronger than ever before,” Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) said. “Since taking shape in 2013, today Pullman Park is drawing more than two million consumers annually, Whole Foods is distributing fresh food across North America and Gotham Greens is putting fresh greens on grocery shelves across the region, right here from the Pullman neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side.”

The 6.2-acre project site 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 $3.68 million and subsequently sell the property to Gotham Greens, which will complete the greenhouse’s vertical construction. Approximately $3.4 million in Tax Increment Financing assistance for the site preparation work is pending City Council approval.