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Plans for large rooftop greenhouse in Colorado to provide local area with greens

In Centennial, there are plans afoot to launch what would be Colorado’s largest rooftop greenhouse — a two-acre operation on top of a yet-to-be-built sports complex that will grow and package nearly two tons of leafy greens a day from a perch three stories above Interstate 25.

It’s a novel enough concept that elected leaders in the south suburb first need to change their zoning to allow an agricultural use currently not permitted in the 36-acre mixed-use project known as The District, which is beginning to sprout just north of the Ikea store on the west side of I-25.

Centennial City Council is expected to vote on the zoning change next month. “The concept of produce being grown to provide for restaurants and residents nearby is innovative, and it’s in keeping with Centennial’s reputation for being forward-looking and future-ready,” Councilman Mike Sutherland said. “Space in a metropolitan area is expensive, and ideas that utilize ideas for maximum use of available space will be both aesthetically and economically pleasing.”

Growing and harvesting food atop buildings is not a new phenomenon in the metro area — Altius Farms’ 7,000-square-foot greenhouse atop sushi restaurant Uchi in downtown Denver has gotten some attention in recent years, with the operation yielding leafy greens, herbs, and edible flowers like Genovese basil and red Russian kale.

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