By Mark Anderson – Staff Writer, Sacramento Business JournalApr 4, 2019, 2:59pm PDT Updated Apr 4, 2019, 9:28pm EDT
Brooklyn, New York-based indoor farming company Gotham Greens Holdings LLC has bought 33.6 acres of ag land just west of the University of California Davis.
Gotham was founded 10 years ago, and pioneered urban farming technologies, growing herbs and salads in rooftop hydroponic greenhouses in downtowns and selling the produce to neighbors and restaurants year-round.
With this purchase, Gotham gets land next to one of the highest-rated agriculture research universities in the world, said Jim Wirth, farmland broker with TRI Commercial/CORFAC International.
Wirth represented the seller, which was UC Davis. The school deemed the land at 9113 Olmo Road to be surplus, and the university put it on the market earlier this year in a sealed bid process. Gotham was the wining bidder at $954,000.
“One of the drivers was the proximity to UC Davis and having access to the university’s research programs and students,” Wirth said.
He said UC Davis was happy with the buyer being an ag technology company, but the university didn’t have any control over who ultimately purchased the land. “At the end of the day it had to go to the highest bidder.”
Most of Gotham Greens’ grows are on urban rooftops, where the company uses technology and sustainable practices to grow pesticide-free produce hydroponically.
The company couldn’t immediately be reached for comment about what it will do with the former UC Davis farmland.
Pam Marrone, CEO of Davis-based Marrone Bio Innovations Inc., said she was at the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit in San Francisco two weeks ago, and there was talk of Gotham bringing one of its high-tech operations to the region.
Gotham is known for its hydroponic grows, Wirth said, which “is ironic because this is Class 1 soil,” which is considered the highest-quality soil.
One of the benefits of hydroponic growing is that the greenhouse and lack of soil allow for control of pests, food safety and a year-round operation.
The land, which is next to Interstate 80, has a boarded-up 100-year-old farmhouse on it, along with a farm outbuilding and an office. It was donated to the university decades ago, Wirth said.
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