As published by E.B Solomont, St. Louis Business Journal, June 20, 2013:
Plans for a new greenhouse in St. Louis that will supply Schnuck Markets Inc. with local produce year-round have doubled in size ahead of a planned groundbreaking in August.
The greenhouse, which will be located at 6335 Bulwer Ave., is being built by New York-based BrightFarms Inc., which finances, builds and operates greenhouse farms. BrightFarms officials said the greenhouse will be 100,000 feet and cost $4 million, two times what they previously announced. Plans for the greenhouse were first disclosed last year, when BrightFarms officials envisioned a 43,500-square-foot facility with a $2 million price tag.
The $4 million price tag will be paid by BrightFarms. Under terms of the arrangement with Schnucks, Schnucks does not invest capital in the greenhouse. “They are our retail partner for the produce we grow,” according to Kate Siskel, BrightFarms’ marketing and media relations manager.
The expanded footprint reflects the company’s shift toward building 2-acre farms instead of 1-acre farms, she said. BrightFarms is leasing land at 6335 Bulwer Ave., which is east of Interstate 70 near O’Fallon Park in north St. Louis, from Green Street Ventures. The company is set to begin construction in August, and officials said they expect the farm will be complete by the end of the year, Siskel said.
The farm will grow an estimated 1 million pounds of produce a year, and it will employ 25. “We’re excited to bring millions of pounds of fresh, local lettuces, tomatoes, and herbs to Schnucks’ customers and bolster the growing local food movement in St. Louis. We are bringing the farmer’s market to the supermarket,” BrightFarms CEO Paul Lightfoot said in an email message.
Family-owned Schnuck Markets, led by Chairman and CEO Scott Schnuck, operates 100 stores and 95 in-store pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa. The company reported 2012 revenue of $2.5 billion.