SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The developers of two planned hydroponic farms have won tax abatements from South Bend officials who say the projects will create “a new industry” in the northern Indiana city.
The South Bend Common Council approved the tax abatements Monday for JEM Farms of South Bend and Greenleaf Holdco, both of which plan to grow produce at indoor hydroponic farms near the city’s ethanol plant.
JEM Farms plans to spend about $60 million building greenhouses and $118 million on equipment to grow strawberries and tomatoes at a complex that would eventually employ about 110 people.
Greenleaf proposes spending $12 million on greenhouses and $68 million on equipment for growing a variety of lettuces at its Pure Green Farms operation, which began production last year.
Both developers will get a 100% abatement from personal property taxes for five years and a 100% abatement from real estate taxes for five years, with that rate subsiding and finally ending after the ninth year, the South Bend Tribune reported.
Council members praised the projects Monday, saying they would move South Bend to the forefront of an innovative and rapidly expanding industry.
“It’s creating a new industry, new jobs, $240 million in new investment,” said Councilwoman Sheila Niezgodski.
Joe McGuire, CEO of Greenleaf Holdco, has said South Bend is a good site for the greenhouses because there’s ample land and the potential to reach 55 million consumers within a 300-mile (483-kilometer) radius.
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