State

Company plans to build high-tech greenhouse in Pikeville industrial park

A screenshot of the AppHarvest.co website.
A screenshot of the AppHarvest.co website.

The state has approved incentives for a company to build a large greenhouse on a former Pikeville surface mine that was reclaimed as an industrial park, Gov. Matt Bevin’s office announced Thursday.

Officials project the AppHarvest operation will create 140 jobs.

AppHarvest said it will build a two million square-foot greenhouse that will be among the largest in the world. The plan is to grow vegetables year-round to sell in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest.

Construction is expected to start in June. The facility will have computerized monitoring and high-tech hydroponic, above-ground growing systems, according to the news release.

Jonathan Webb, founder and chief executive officer of AppHarvest, said Pikeville’s location near the company’s retail markets will reduce shipping costs.

Kentucky is within a day’s drive of 65 percent of the nation’s population, according to Bevin’s office.

“AppHarvest’s project will bring exciting, high-tech job opportunities to Eastern Kentucky,” Bevin said.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles called AppHarvest’s project “an exciting opportunity that could change the economic trajectory of the entire region for decades to come.”

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has given preliminarily approval for tax incentives to AppHarvest worth up to $2.5 million.

The program lets companies keep a portion of their state income taxes by meeting job and investment targets.

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