A Montana startup that raises lettuce and herbs in high-tech greenhouses is coming to the Tri-Cities on the heels of a merger that will take the company public with a valuation of $1.1 billion. Local Bounti, launched in Hamilton, Montana, in 2018 by a pair of former energy industry executives, will build the first of eight IPO-funded greenhouse complexes west of the Mississippi River in Pasco.
The $40 million complex will include 32 greenhouses on 28 acres at Oregon Avenue and A Street in Pasco. It began discussing the project, dubbed Project Sunshine, with the Tri-City Development Council (TRIDEC) earlier this year.
The company built its original greenhouse in western Montana and is using proceeds from the IPO to build a network to serve what it calls a
$10.6 billion market in the west. “We are so excited to be coming to the Tri-Cities,” said Kathleen Valiasek, chief financial officer.
An unnamed site in northern Colorado will be next. It is targeting western Nevada, southern Utah and the Texas-Oklahoma border for future facilities. All are expected to be open by 2025.
The deal will provide up to $400 million to the combined company and fund plans to develop what it calls “controlled environment agriculture” facilities like the ones planned in Pasco and elsewhere.
Local Bounti products are carried in 100 retail locations, chiefly Associated Food Stores URM retail banners including some Yoke’s Fresh Markets. It was not available in the Kennewick or West Richland Yoke’s in early July.
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