Local Bounti Inc., the Montana-based ag tech startup, resumed construction of its $40 million greenhouse complex in east Pasco in September.
The company paused the project in April, when it closed a deal to acquire the parent company of Pete’s, a California indoor grower.
It disclosed plans to restart work in Pasco in August, when it released a second-quarter earnings statement.
The city of Pasco issued a revised grading permit that indicates Local Bounti will build a 242,115-square-foot building in the first phase and a 172,750-square-foot one in the second phase. Excavators and other equipment moved back onto the property around Labor Day.
Local Bounti said the project was redesigned to align with demand associated with the Pete’s acquisition, according to a statement attributed to Craig Hurlbert, co-CEO of Local Bounti.
The Pasco operation will use Local Bounti’s “Stack & Flow” growing system, which uses 90% less water and land than growing plants in fields and which offers more control over the light and nutrients reaching plants.
The company initially broke ground on 28 acres at 950 S. Elm Ave., near Oregon Avenue and A Street, in mid-2021. The project was set to feature 32 greenhouses where Local Bounti planned to cultivate live lettuce and herbs in its proprietary racking system. Local Bounti is not a cannabis company.
The building permit issued in December valued construction of the greenhouse shells at $22 million.
Local Bounti paid $3.1 million for the Oregon Avenue site in June 2021, shortly after the company went public via a merger with Leo Holdings III Corp., a publicly traded special purpose acquisition company or SPAC, also known as a “blank check” investor. The move provided capital to expand beyond its original site in Hamilton, Montana.
Cargill, based in Minnesota, teamed with the head of a Thai-based energy and infrastructure company to invest $125 million in equity in the company. Cargo also extended a significant loan.
Local Bounti was formed by a pair of former energy industry executives eager to tap into the $30 billion U.S. market for fresh lettuce and herbs.
The project appeared to come to a stop after Local Bounti closed a deal on April 4 to acquire Hollandia Produce Group Inc., the California indoor farming company that operates under the name Pete’s.
During the pause, the contractor removed all equipment other than a water tank from the development site. At the time, it dismissed rumors that it was unhappy with the developer. It did not list the property for sale.
In the second quarter release, Local Bounti said growing operations began in its Georgia facility in July and that it is looking for a site in eastern Texas for its next growing facility. Former Pete’s facilities in California are being upgraded as well.
The company projects $20 million in revenue for 2022. Its products are sold under the Local Bounti and Pete’s names in 10,000 grocery stores.
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