Apparently Chicago's at the vanguard of the local food movement, politically at least. Mayoral support for homegrown produce and green roofs have combined to help influence New York-based BrightFarms Inc. to develop a "beachhead" rooftop farm on the North Side. If it succeeds, there could be more to come. Unlike your garden variety rooftop operation, this one will be enormous and potentially quite profitable. The location? An office-industrial building at 2500 W Bradley at the western edge of North Center, reports Crain's. The building is 350,000 square feet. The greenhouse that Brightfarms will plop atop is 45,000 square feet. That's slightly more than an acre! With that kind of real estate, the farm could produce up to 500,000 pounds of veggies worth $1.5M annually. The firm has a few other facilities under construction in other cities, but not all are on rooftops. The cost to build the hydroponic operation will be roughly $2M and Brightfarms has a newly minted 10-year lease to keep things rolling. This project really raises the bar on what's been done already around town (see The Plant and Uncommon Ground). Curbed toasts the potential.
·Farm planned for roof of North Side building [Crain's by subscription]