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03 Oct

Abandoned Magic Chef Factory On Capitol Hill To Become Hydroponic Paradise

A huge urban space is about to be converted into a hydroponic tomato growing facility. A huge urban space is about to be converted into a hydroponic tomato growing facility.


Haley O'Brien has a vision of tomatoes on Capitol Hill. The architecture graduate, who wants to use her degree to give back to the community, plans on making that dream come true by turning 500,000 square feet of empty factory space from a former Magic Chef site into a hydroponic food producing haven.

O'Brien has already submitted her proposal to the current property owners and arranged a meeting with community stakeholders and potential investors. She says the 14-acre property is perfect for growing hydroponic tomatoes because of its proximity to two main highways and a railroad spur running through the space that can be used for transport within the factory and to locations outside of it.

"I realized it would be a fantastic way to reactivate the Magic Chef property and reutilize the old train line," said O'Brien. "I came up with a whole manufacturing cycle. The train comes in, seeds are taken off, cleaned, graded, and separated. Next, they’re brought to the planting space, where they’re watered, fertilized, and grown, then brought to the processing plant, where they’re cut, washed, and packaged. From there, they can go back onto the train line or out to the truck loading docks."

Since the space is too dark for housing and too large to be rented out to one potential owner, O'Brien says her idea fits the space perfectly. Her plans also include a green grocery store where the produce could be sold back to the community, a courtyard for locals to eat and relax in, and a west facing façade that would bring the entire complex together.

Last but not least, O'Brien wants the neighborhood's rich Italian history included. "Tempered glass panels would transition from red to green, creating a 100-foot-long abstraction of the Italian flag that pays homage to the neighborhood’s cultural heritage," says O'Brien.

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Hydroponic growing operations can transform urban agriculture.
Last modified on Thursday, 03 October 2013 20:10
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