By Chris Jensen,
The purchase of land needed to open a $50 million, high-tech commercial greenhouse in Berlin may not occur until late this fall, according to an official working with the project.
The deal was expected to go through last April.
The closing date has been extended until Nov. 27, said Kelly Wieser, a Campton-based lawyer who helped arrange financing and worked on issues such as permitting.
Wieser said the delay will allow some of the financial arrangements – including a $25 million loan guarantee from the United States Department of Agriculture – to be coordinated.
The USDA loan guarantees 60 percent of a $25 million loan from Service Credit Union. The remainder of the funding includes $17 million from private investors and an additional $8.3 million loan from Service Credit Union, according to USDA records.
Originally North Country Growers LLC had hoped to begin construction of the huge, hydroponic greenhouse last spring, with growing starting early next year.
About 80 full-time workers will be needed to handle the estimated 15 million heads of lettuce and eight million pounds of tomatoes to be grown each year, the company has said.
But moving ahead is contingent on buying about 170 acres from Berlin for about $680,000. Finalizing the deal has been delayed several times.
Wieser told InDepthNH.org that the city has been “extremely understanding and cooperative as North Country Growers endeavors to make certain that all the pieces are properly in place as we move forward with this exciting project.”
North Country Growers parent company is American Ag Energy, headed by Richard Rosen.
The effort in Berlin is the fifth time Rosen has tried to establish high-tech greenhouses in the last six years. Four other efforts, two in Massachusetts and two in New Hampshire, did not go past the planning stage.