Up On The Housetop – Raising Corn

Bradley Business Center

There’s been a lot of chatter about urban farming in Chicago lately.  From turning brownfields into veg patches to fish farms inside abandoned factories to Mayor Daley’s private garden on the roof of city hall (121 North LaSalle Street).  Now the biggest thing in urban farming to hit Chicago is landing in the little-known North Central neighborhood.

Across the street from Lane Tech High School (2501 West Addison Street), on a quiet light industrial loop known mostly for being the home of WGN Television (2501 West Bradley Place) and where I found a $50 bill on the ground in 2004, Chicago’s largest urban farm is about to open.

The hydroponic facility will be on the roof of the Bradley Business Center (2500 West Bradley Place) and be a little over an acre in size.

The facility is scheduled to open on September 20th.  And while every other media outlet in Chicago was happy to basically reprint the press release, we actually bothered to ask a few questions about this project to fill in the blanks.  Here’s what we found out:

Q: What kinds of plants will be grown in the hydroponic installation?
A: We grow a variety of lettuces, tomatoes and herbs

Q: Is the food being raised for retail or wholesale distribution? To what outlets?
A: We will select a retail partner for our produce. Traditionally, we partner with one supermarket chain per greenhouse.

Q: Is the garden using waste heat from the building? Waste water? Is there any other symbiosis between the garden and the building?
A: We are still in the design phase of the project so its too soon to tell. Whenever possible, we recapture waste heat and employ rainwater catchment to reduce our environmental impact.

Q: How does the garden fight the challenges of a Chicago winter?
A: Our hydroponic greenhouse farms are year-round, offering fresh locally grown produce in the middle of the winter!

Q: Why this location when there are so many other buildings with huge empty roofs in other parts of the city?
A: The Bradley Business Center is an ideal location because they not only have the space we need but share our commitment to green building and excitement for urban agriculture.

Q: How much do you expect to harvest from the garden?
A: The greenhouse will grow up to 500,000 pounds of produce per year

Q: Will the garden operate year-round?
A: Yes!


Bradley Business Center


Bradley Business Center Announces Grand Opening

Urban farm firm BrightFarms signs on for 45,000-square-foot rooftop hydroponic farm

CHICAGO (September 5, 2012) – The Bradley Business Center, a 350,000-square-foot joint venture of Centrum Partners and Hansen Realty, has announced its grand opening will take place on September 20 and that new tenant BrightFarms has leased one-acre of rooftop space to build the largest rooftop farm in Chicago.

Located at 2500 West Bradley Place in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood, the Bradley Business Center boasts a desirable address for thousands of area workers. The two-story, newly renovated facility serves as a hub for cutting-edge technology firms and creative-driven companies on Chicago’s North Side. The building offers class-A space both for-sale and lease, starting at 5,000 square feet and up.

“We are very excited to bring this space to the technology and business community,” said Michael McLean, senior vice president of Centrum Partners. “The North Center neighborhood is dramatically underserved by class-A office space and the Bradley Business Center fills a need by offering tech firms an excellent location and a flexible facility allows for future growth. We offer top-flight amenities and all of the features that will help employers attract the young, creative workforce that resides in the area.”

On-site, the property offers amenities such as: a two-story glass atrium with benches and lounge area for tenants, audio/visual room for viscom meetings, a fitness room, an outdoor basketball court, locker rooms with shower facilities, a café, recreation room with games and billiards, bike racks for bicycle commuters, a hospitality suite, an exceptional power supply and 435 parking spaces.

Adding to a tenant roster that already includes 350 Green, a Los Angeles-based firm specializing in battery packs and electric vehicle charging stations, New York City-based BrightFarms has leased 45,000 square feet of rooftop space to build a hydroponic greenhouse farm.

BrightFarms builds commercial scale greenhouse farms across the country, partnering with local farmers to manage the greenhouses and supermarkets to sell its local produce year-round. Its model creates green-collar jobs, reduces the environmental impact of transportation, and offers supermarket customers farm-fresh produce picked within hours—not days—of harvest.

“Companies like 350 Green and Bright Farms are exactly the kind of tenants that we are seeking at the Bradley Business Center,” said McLean. “Innovative firms that bring a culture of creativity will help establish a dynamic environment that will define this location as one of Chicago’s premier technology centers.”

The site’s proximity to a residential neighborhood with a large population of highly-educated, young workers is enticing to firms that want to offer convenience to the workforce that they covet, said McLean.

“Rather than traveling downtown or to the suburbs for work, many residents will be able to simply walk down the street to this convenient job center,” said McLean. “The nearby Roscoe Village neighborhood is a hot spot for trendy restaurants and nightlife, constituting a true live, work and play location.”

The location is also public transportation friendly as CTA bus routes supply steady public transportation access to the office center via Western Avenue and Addison Street and the El station on Addison is only one mile west, allowing for easy transfers from train to bus.

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About Bradley Business Center
The Bradley Business Center is a 350,000-square-foot joint venture of Centrum Partners and Hansen Realty. Located at 2500 West Bradley in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood, the Bradley Business Center will deliver Class A office space for-sale and lease to one of Chicago’s most desirable residential neighborhoods.

About BrightFarms
BrightFarms grows local produce, nationwide. By financing, building, and managing greenhouse farms at or near grocery retailers, BrightFarms eliminates time, distance, and costs from the produce supply chain. BrightFarms local produce is fresher, more flavorful, and better for the environment, enabling grocers to change their produce supply chain in a way that improves the planet and their profits.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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