ELLICOTTVILLE – An Ellicottville company plans to build a vertical growing farm to supply fresh green vegetables to area restaurants, the Seneca-Allegany Casino and county schools.
Ellicottville Greens founder and CEO Gabriel Bialkowski presented his vertical farming plans at a site on Simmons Road in Ellicottville to members of the Cattaraugus County Industrial Development Agency on Tuesday.
It would be the first large-scale indoor farm in the southern part, but requires financial assistance, Bialkowski said. Eight full-time and two part-time jobs would be created within two years.
Plans call for growing leafy greens, but if there’s a local need for a different type of crop, Ellicottville Greens can supply it, Bialkowski said.
He said the Simmons Road property is being considered because of its proximity to a planned solar power installation. The company hopes to participate in Recharge NY through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Seed funding is also being sought through Launch NY.
Bialkowski said the goal is to provide local, fresh, affordable and sustainable leafy greens.
Bialkowski’s investment in the project is estimated at $710,000 including $550,000 for a 9,120 square foot building.
Approximately 30% of sales are expected to be in Cattaraugus County, 65% outside of the county but in New York State, and 5% outside of New York but in the United States.
Ellicottville Greens was established in 2019 as an indoor farm management company and owns, operates and acquires indoor vertical farms. It is hoped that the vertical farm – made up of movable modular shipping containers inside the pole barn, will be the first of many for the company here.
The company currently operates from a Transit Road location in Buffalo. The new headquarters will be located in Ellicottville, Bialkowski said. The greens will be marketed under the Ellicottville Greens and Vertical Fresh Farms brands.
Ellicottville Greens’ IDA application is for tax-exempt financing.
IDA executive director Corey Wiktor said a public hearing would be held early next month and the IDA board could act on the request at its next meeting.
Wiktor told the IDA board that he recently met a potential buyer from the former Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative on Haskell Road, Olean Town.
A manufacturing company from outside the region is looking to hire up to 200 people. No deal has been announced and there is no current timeline for future hires, Wiktor said.
In addition, there are about 45 employees of C&S Grocers, who purchased Olean Wholesale. Wiktor said the company was working with a local developer to find an alternate site. “It could be a win-win,” Wiktor said, noting that local jobs will be maintained.
The sale of the Siemens Energy, formerly Dresser-Rand, plant to Olean is not so clear cut, Wiktor said.
The company does not accept additional offers. He had solicited bids of at least $7.5 million for the 88-acre site off Wayne and Buffalo streets.
There is 775,000 square feet of state-of-the-art indoor production space and 172,000 square feet of office space at the Siemens Energy site where Olean’s machinists fabricated compressors and other equipment. oil and natural gas for over 100 years.
Siemens has announced that it will close the Olean plant in February 2021. Production has ended at the plant and most employees have been furloughed. About 100 were transferred to Siemens’ Painted Post plant.
There are approximately 200 Siemens engineers and other staff remaining at the Olean plant.