Restaurant + REIT = Urban Pop Up Farm on Stalled East Side Construction Site

A stalled construction site in Kips Bay is probably the last place you’d expect to find a 6000-plant farm. But at 430 East 29th Street, Riverpark Farm is making a statement about how urban space can be utilized in innovative ways.

Riverpark Farm

A stalled construction site in Kips Bay is probably the last place you’d expect to find a 6000-plant farm. But at 430 East 29th Street, Riverpark Farm is making a statement about how urban space can be utilized in innovative ways.

Conceived by the life sciences REIT Alexandria Real Estate Equities, the farm is located on a 15,000-square-foot parcel within the Alexandria Center for Life Science, a $200 million Silver LEED for Core and Shell development. The firm hopes to eventually move forward with the second phase of the project, which would involve two more towers. One of those towers would rise in place of the farm. But in the interim, Alexandria and its founder, Joel Marcus, have partnered with Riverpark restaurant chef and co-founder Sisha Ortuzar in cultivating the farm, whose eventual bounty will be transferred to other parts of the 4-acre development once construction on the stalled tower proceeds. Riverpark is currently a tenant within the Alexandria Center, and actually approached Marcus about the concept. It was an easy sell; Alexandria already operates an urban farm on a similar campus in San Diego.

GrowNYC, a New York City-based non-profit that promotes green markets, community gardens, and other educational initiatives, helped create and promote the farm, which could serve as a model – and perhaps a job catalyst – for other stalled construction sites throughout the five boroughs. The farm is currently producing around 85 different crops that are used in the Riverpark restaurant: peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, and spinach. This fall, the restaurant hopes to install a 12-seat farmer’s table for patrons to dine al fresco in what would be one of New York City’s most unlikely culinary destinations.

About Stephen Del Percio

Stephen Del Percio has written for gbNYC+ since 2006 and currently serves as in-house counsel for one of the world's largest engineering, construction, and technical services companies. He earned a B.Eng. from Columbia, his J.D. at William & Mary, and lives in New York City with his wife and daughter. You can follow Stephen on Twitter, email him at stephen@gbNYC.com, or join gbNYC on Facebook to continue the conversation.

about gbNYC

gbNYC is a multi-disciplinary consulting and real estate services firm. In addition to representing office tenants and commercial buyers in leasing and acquisitions, we also provide innovative consulting solutions from a unique, green building perspective. We advise on green building financial incentives, comment on proposed green building marketing strategies, author white papers, treatises, and market analyses, organize seminars on the LEED process and professional accreditation, and provide advice and analysis on green building risk management and the overall state of green real estate, leasing, and construction, in New York City and beyond.

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3 Responses to Restaurant + REIT = Urban Pop Up Farm on Stalled East Side Construction Site

  1. Brodsky Organization Thursday, September 22, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    The pop-up farm is such a great idea and inventive use of space. We’ve seen articles about rooftop farms lately, and it is nice to see an increase in sustainability initiatives throughout Manhattan and other boroughs. GrowNYC has really done a lot of fabulous things and give them major props.

  2. Brodsky Organization Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    The pleasure is all ours!

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