A hi-tech greenhouse project that two years ago proposed bringing 140 jobs to Pikeville now plans to relocate its operations to a farm near Morehead, the company’s CEO confirmed to the Herald-Leader.
AppHarvest announced in February 2017 that it planned to build one of the largest greenhouses in the world in Pikeville’s industrial park — an abandoned mine site on an exposed mountaintop near the city.
The company’s planned 140 jobs and $60 million investment was lauded by local and state leaders as a potential boon to Eastern Kentucky’s faltering economy.
The project, though, never came to fruition. After nearly two years of delays, the city of Pikeville rescinded AppHarvest’s option to lease part of the industrial park in November 2018.
The Morehead location — a 350-acre parcel about two miles off I-64 near the Sharkey community of Rowan County — is promising, said Jonathan Webb, AppHarvest’s founder and CEO.
“Obviously we had our setbacks in Pikeville, but it has not changed our ultimate strategy,” Webb said.
AppHarvest will dedicate 120 acres of the 350-acre parcel to its greenhouse campus, which would include a 60-acre glass-and-steel greenhouse.