A vertical farm in Newark — one of the largest in the world — has traded hands for $21 million.
Newark-based developer and investor RBH Group sold the 65,539-square-foot headquarters of AeroFarms at 212 Rome Street to Boston-based Cabot Properties.
Cabot is fresh off the $2.8 billion sale of a 124-property portfolio to Blackstone Group.
The firm specializes in industrial real estate. Its largest markets are Dallas, Chicago and Los Angeles, and the portfolio deal included properties in those markets. It also invests in Europe, Australia and Canada.
The property includes warehouse space, a research and development center and a climate-controlled cultivation space.
RBH and AeroFarms are slated to expand the capacity of the farming facility to produce over 2 million pounds of greens annually.
A press release from Walker and Dunlop, which brokered the deal on behalf of RBH Group, said the complex can produce “greater than 100 times as many crops per square foot as compared to a traditional field farm” and that the facility uses 95 percent less water than traditional farms.
Of course, the facility costs a lot more than farmland. But it is a lot closer to consumers.
The complex is a converted steel factory. RBH Group and AeroFarms developed it with Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group, Prudential Financial and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, according to NJ.com.
The Newark facility was AeroFarms’ second vertical farm facility after one in Ithaca, New York. The company also operated a farm at Philip’s Academy Charter School in Newark.
The farm space utilizes proprietary aeroponics systems and methods. Aeroponics is a method of growing plants without soil, leaving their roots “naked” — fed only with nutrient-laden mist.
The company sells its packaged greens through a handful of grocery stores, including Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, Walmart, Amazon Fresh and ShopRite.
Its crops include baby arugula, kale and watercress as well as “micro” arugula and mixes.