British Columbia

Craigslist Vancouver ad offers failed vertical greenhouse for $1.5M

An innovative vertical farming system that Mayor Gregor Robertson once warmly endorsed has been listed on Craigslist Vancouver for $1.5 million.

The Alterrus 'vertical farm' was supported by Mayor Gregor Robertson

North America's first VertiCrop farm was built on the roof of a parkade in downtown Vancouver in November 2013. (Alterrus)

An innovative vertical farming system that Mayor Gregor Robertson once warmly endorsed has been listed on Craigslist Vancouver for $1.5 million.

The high tech greenhouse is situated on top of a parking lot in the downtown core and was originally conceived as an urban farming innovation that would grow 200 kilograms of fresh organic leafy green vegetables daily.

The produce would then be sold direct to local restaurants and through the produce delivery service SPUD.ca.

But the dream soon faded, with Alterrus Systems Inc. filing for bankcruptcy in January 2014, just a year after setting up, with debts of $3.4 million — despite a cut-rate rent deal from the City of just $4,800 per month.

A view through a window, with some reflection, of the former Alterrus parkade greenhouse. (Jason Proctor/CBC)

There is an ongoing lawsuit between the City, EasyPark (managers of the parkade)  and Clay Haeber (a former board member of Alterrus and the current owner of the farm) over a deal that would have seen the business taken over by Affinor, a Montreal-based medical marijuana firm.

The mayor was travelling back from Europe and not available for comment on Thursday.

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