The Plant is a proposal for the adaptive reuse of a specific building, but it is also part of a larger vision. The vision is to build on Chicago’s industrial heritage, and to advance the city’s environmental goals, by reinventing old buildings for innovative new uses. The site where we will be applying it is the former Peer Plants meatpacking plant at 1400 w. 46th St., at the southwest corner of Chicago’s historic stockyard district.
The most innovative use proposed for The Plant is to develop a test site for implementing aquaponic farm techniques in a “vertical” environment. Vertical farms have been the subject of well-publicized research, both at Columbia University in New York and at Chicago’s own Illinois Institute of Technology. But to date, indoor farming in multi-story, urban buildings has not been attempted on any scale. With 90,000 sf, floor drains and high floor load capacities, 1400 w. 46th St. offers a feasible structure to test techniques for producing high crop yields in an existing building, and in immediate proximity to large retail and wholesale markets.
The development of this experimental use will be supported by rents from other food service companies, anchored by a microbrewery.