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BrightFarms Eyes Abilene, Texas, for Hydroponic Greenhouse

03/23/2018
BrightFarms, the No. 1 brand of locally grown salads, reported the site of its first hydroponic greenhouse farm will be Access Business Park in Abilene, Texas.

The state-of-the-art hydroponic greenhouse will be constructed at an estimated cost of up to $17 million and create as many as 30 “green-collar” jobs for local residents.

Development Corporation of Abilene approved a 10 percent match of the investment, up to $1,700,000, leaving the remaining 90 percent to be provided by the company. "The involvement from the DCOA to incentivize this company to locate in Abilene is a testament to all the great things our city has to offer businesses," said DCOA Board President John Beckham.

The company will also receive approximately 21 acres in Access Business Park, valued at $632,700, to construct the 180,000 square foot greenhouse. The incentive requires the company to meet minimum performance criteria for jobs and investment over the next five years. The project aims to begin construction in summer 2018 and be fully operational by early 2019.

According to the Abilene Industrial Foundation, construction is slated to begin this summer, and shoppers will find fresh, local, pesticide-free and non-GMO greens and herbs in area grocery stores by early 2019.

Founded in 2011 in New York, New York, the company currently has facilities in Rochelle, Illinois; Culpeper County, Virginia; Bucks County, Pennsylvania and is in the process of opening a new location in Wilmington, Ohio.

By constructing greenhouse farms near major metros, the company’s produce is grown locally and picked at the height of freshness, delivering to supermarkets within 24 hours of harvest, officials said.

In October 2017, The Governor’s Office of Economic Development and Tourism contacted the Abilene Industrial Foundation, on behalf of BrightFarms, to identify an ideal site as part of its efforts to expand into the southern market. The AIF works on behalf of the DCOA to promote the growth, development and diversification of the economy in Abilene by attracting new industries.

BrightFarms asked targeted Texas communities for greenfield sites to construct its next greenhouse operation. The AIF worked with the DCOA to formulate a response, highlighting the land that was recently made available next to the Abilene Regional Airport. This area, Access Business Park, is being developed as Abilene's next generation business park that aims to be the home for new industry in the coming years.

"Abilene's central location, available land and incentive program plays an influential role in attracting this project to the city, "said Justin Jaworski, Executive Director for the Abilene Industrial Foundation.

Kent Sharp, CEO of the Development Corporation of Abilene, said the company will contribute approximately $12.5 million in payroll to the local economy in its first 10 years. "The project itself will generate an additional $3 million in revenues to local taxing entities over this period of time, with $1.5 million accruing to the City of Abilene," he added.

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