QUEENS — A 60,000-square-foot rooftop greenhouse that will produce more than 500 tons of fresh vegetables a year finally opened this week on Jamaica Avenue in Hollis, officials said.
The new hydroponics facility, operated by Gotham Greens, will allow the Brooklyn-based urban agriculture company to triple the amount of fresh produce it currently provides to its customers in the New York region.
The greenhouse, built on the roof of a four-story manufacturing building at 184-60 Jamaica Ave. which used to house the Ideal Toy Company factory, will grow pesticide-free lettuce and herbs using efficiency and renewable energy technologies.
“Opening this new state-of-the-art greenhouse facility in the middle of winter underscores the innovative story of Gotham Greens,” Gotham Greens CEO Viraj Puri said in a statement. “Never before have consumers in our marketplace been able to get locally grown produce this fresh at this time of year.”
Last year, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority awarded the project $1 million to reduce its energy consumption by installing high-efficiency lighting as well as cooling and automated crop production systems.
The project is expected to create nearly 50 permanent jobs, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“Gotham Greens’ expansion into Queens is creating jobs and offering New Yorkers greater access to healthy, locally grown produce,” Cuomo said.
“By partnering with local businesses that utilize energy-saving practices, we are helping them expand their operations while growing the economy, and building a sustainable future for New Yorkers," he added.
Gotham Greens already operates a 15,000-square-foot rooftop greenhouse in Greenpoint, a 20,000-square-foot facility on the roof of Whole Foods Market in Gowanus and a 75,000-square-foot rooftop greenhouse in Chicago.