In four transactions between 2013 and 2015, Goldman Sachs secured $30 million in funding to finance the first two phases of a project to redevelop a 69,000 square foot industrial building located in Newark’s Ironbound neighborhood.
The project is part of an ongoing effort by the city and the community to transform functionally obsolete industrial buildings into highly efficient light industrial spaces, better suited to the needs of today’s economy. These facilities will allow Newark to promote economic development and create jobs in an area where the unemployment rate is more than 2x the national average.
The building’s first anchor tenant will be AeroFarms, an innovative clean-technology firm that builds, owns, operates and leases state-of-the-art vertical farm systems for urban environments. The company’s award-winning, proprietary aeroponic and LED technologies will allow its urban farms to grow up to 22 crop turns per year, compared to three turns per year via conventional methods. The systems require no pesticides and use 95% less water than traditional farming methods.
In the project’s first two phases, AeroFarms will operate the world’s largest aeroponic farm on the site, creating approximately 78 new permanent jobs. It will also allow Newark to meet the goals of its Sustainable Action Plan by stimulating urban agriculture and engaging youth in food education and literacy.
On July 9, 2015, Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, members of the Newark Municipal Council, New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, AeroFarms CEO David Rosenberg, RBH Group CEO Ron Beit, and representatives of Goldman Sachs and Prudential Financial, Inc., broke ground for the construction of the facility.