Business & Tech
4:28 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Hydroponic Greenhouse To Grace KC Riverfront

This year the landscape will change dramatically along the banks of the Missouri River just Northeast of Kansas City’s downtown. A hundred thousand square feet of greenhouses are planned for growing produce for a local supermarket chain.

Greenhouse developers brought examples of produce-products to Kansas City City Hall.
Greenhouse developers brought examples of produce-products to Kansas City City Hall.
Credit Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Developer Brightfarms, Inc. works with hydroponic growing methods and gained attention when it started putting a commercial greenhouse atop an old Navy storage building in Brooklyn.

CEO Paul Lightfoot said at a city hall reception today that no tax breaks were offered to develop the five-acre parcel of land. The startup timetable is not firm because Lightfoot said he always expects setbacks.

The Port Authority of the City is a partner.

Lightfoot noted there are multiple reasons for the project to attract his firm because, “there’s a real growing desire for urban, local food here.”

To the developer, “this is a movement of local food in Kansas City that’s strong. You’ve also got an administration that wants to make it easy for companies like ours to come in from out of town and develop relatively quickly without too much red tape.”

Lightfoot said negotiations are underway with a major grocery chain to sell produce.  He would not name the chain.

Mayor Sly James said the development is an important use of city riverfront.