Urban Farmers secures financing for Europe's largest commercial rooftop farm15.10.2015 11:54
UrbanFarmers AG, the company that designs and operates Aquaponic rooftop farms, today announced the closing of financing of EUR 2.7m with two lead investors. Proceeds will be used to build the rooftop farm UF002 De Schilde – Europe’s largest commercial rooftop farm project in The Hague, Netherlands.
In 2012, UrbanFarmers AG opened UF001 LokDepot in Basel, the worldwide first commercial Aquaponic rooftop farm growing fresh fish and healthy vegetables in closed-loop water systems. UF serves leading restaurants and food retailers such as Migros Basel and excited customers with its fish and vegetables.
Now, the company has announced full financing for UF002 De Schilde in The Hague. Roman Gaus, CEO of UrbanFarmers AG comments: “UF is not just a two-man shop and some outsourcing. We want to design and operate rooftop farms in every city, and we are very excited to develop a project in The Netherlands, the heart of horticulture. With UF002, UF has provided development, engineering, procurement and contracting services. Now, we will leverage our proprietary operating technology and brand assets to run rooftop farms successfully over the 20 years of economic lifetime and to deliver a truly triple bottom line return for both farm investors and the community”.
The investment was led by SVn, a Dutch municipal investment fund with EUR 1.3bn in assets under management, and a private Swiss investor. Richard Luigjes, Manager Fondsontwikkeling at SVn adds: “SVn invests in sustainable projects in the Netherlands that strengthen the natural environment, economic vitality and healthy communities. This perfectly fits the profile to help finance rooftop farming.”
Start of construction of the project is envisaged in September, after clearance of the permits and the remaining technical discussions with suppliers. Ramp-up of operations and first planting of vegetables and fish are scheduled for Q1 2016.
Total production capacity of the farm will exceed 50 tons of specialty vegetables and 19 tons of fish production per annum, serving about 6’000 people with fresh produce and fish in direct sales, 60 restaurants or 10 supermarkets, respectively.
Mark Durno, Managing Director of UF Benelux, will lead the project and has recently relocated to The Hague. “There is huge potential to upgrade idle real estate assets in cities by monetizing empty rooftops and providing a meaningful way to serve urban customers with something that revolutionizes our perception of how fresh food is grown and delivered. This is finally happening at large-scale.”