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RI Governor, Providence Mayor welcome Gotham Greens

On the banks of Providence, RI’s Woonasquatucket River, Rhode Island Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, Rhode Island Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor, and community leaders joined Viraj Puri, co-founder and chief executive officer of Gotham Greens, to officially announce and preview construction progress on the company’s 110,000-square-foot state-of-the-art greenhouse farm that will create approximately 60 permanent and 100 construction jobs.

The facility is slated to open in early fall 2019 and will operate year-round to supply residents, restaurants, and foodservice customers of Providence and the greater New England region with 10 million heads annually of farm-fresh lettuce and leafy greens grown with minimal environmental impact to preserve our natural resources.

Located at 555 Harris Avenue, the site, which had been vacant for two decades, was once home to Providence Base Works — a bustling General Electric facility that employed hundreds of workers to manufacture lamp bases.

“Gotham Greens is a shining example of the type of innovative, sustainable, and community-minded businesses we envision will help to reinvigorate the Woonasquatucket River Corridor,” said Mayor Elorza. “By supplying fresh, healthy produce and well-paying jobs for Providence residents, Gotham Greens will serve as a driver of economic growth in the capital city while generating a creative source of energy that will help better connect the neighborhoods along the river.”

“We are excited by the tremendous progress Gotham Greens has made on this project, as well as the potential this project holds for Rhode Island,” saidPryor. “Beyond the creation of jobs in its construction and ongoing operations, this project will further strengthen the state’s already strong food sector, a vitally important industry in Rhode Island.”

The $12.5 million project is a collaborative community effort, bringing in diverse stakeholders from local and state government agencies including the Office of the Governor, Rhode Island Commerce Corp., Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, the Office of Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, Providence Redevelopment Agency, Providence Office of Economic Opportunity, as well as many other City of Providence staff and community members.

Gotham Greens has deeded a portion of its property to the city and is collaborating with the PRA in order to create a publicly accessible bike path along the Woonasquatucket River that will connect riverbank communities to downtown Providence. Gotham Greens will partner with community organizations to increase access to healthy foods and support wellness and nutrition education, ag-tech research, and environmental education programs across the region.

In support of this project, the Rhode Island Commerce Corp. has committed up to $2.3 million in tax credits, payable over a 10-year period contingent on actual job creation. In addition, DEM has awarded $250,000 as part of their Brownfield Remediation and Economic Development 2016 Green Economy Bond program, and the Providence Department of Economic Opportunity has committed $200,000 for job creation and training.

Using advanced growing methods that include recirculating hydroponics, big data-driven climate control intelligence, and renewable energy, the facility is expected to produce approximately 30 times the yield of conventional agriculture per acre, while using 90 percent less water.

“Gotham Greens is an exciting, innovative company, and I’m thrilled to welcome them to Rhode Island,” said Governor Gina M. Raimondo. “Rhode Island’s green economy is growing, and we’re emerging as a national leader in sustainability. Gotham Greens’ commitment to reducing their environmental impact makes them a perfect fit for our state.”

With this project, Gotham Greens is continuing its rapid growth of building high-tech indoor greenhouse farms across the United States. Since its launch in 2011, Gotham Greens has grown from a single urban rooftop greenhouse in Brooklyn to a multi-state indoor farming leader and one of the largest hydroponic leafy greens producers in North America. Gotham Greens currently operates more than 180,000 square feet of greenhouse in New York and Chicago and has an additional 500,000 square feet of development underway across five states.

“We are thrilled to partner with the city of Providence and state of Rhode Island on this project,” said Gotham Greens Co-Founder and CEO Viraj Puri. “Providence is the perfect location for us, strategically located at the gateway to New England, the city has a rich legacy of manufacturing, world-class institutes of higher education and a thriving local food culture. Geographically, New England is farthest from the West Coast, where the majority of leafy greens distributed across the U.S. today are grown. Once we’re operational, Gotham Greens will be able to supply this region’s supermarket retailers and foodservice operators with a consistent and reliable supply of fresh produce grown right here in New England year-round.

“Furthermore, using our proprietary indoor growing methods, we can implement rigorous health, safety, and traceability measures — from seed to harvest — that far exceed those of conventional commodity agribusiness to ensure that we are growing the highest quality, safest products on the market today,”Puri added.