ARCHIVED  September 20, 2002

Ex-Colorado Greenhouse site acquired by Canadian ag firm

GREELEY — The last remaining pieces of Colorado Greenhouse Holdings Inc. have been sold to Agstar of New Mexico, a unit of Agstar Power in Leamington, Ontario.

Agstar bought the greenhouse facilities — one in Estancia, N.M., and one in Grants, N.M. — last month from Farm Credit Services of Greeley for an undisclosed amount.

Farm Credit Services took possession of the two New Mexico greenhouses in 2001 after Colorado Greenhouse went bankrupt.

The agricultural lender had loaned Colorado Greenhouse more than $20 million to build the greenhouses. When Colorado Greenhouse filed for bankruptcy in 2000, the greenhouses operations were stopped.

The bankruptcy forced Farm Credit Services to buy the greenhouses to cover the loan. Farm Credit Services was the only bidder on the properties in January 2001. The Greeley lender paid $4.9 million for the Estancia greenhouse.

Officials for Farm Credit Services declined comment on the sale.

As a result of the sale, operations are running at full speed again and employees are preparing for the first harvest.

Colorado Greenhouse was a Fort Lupton-based hydroponic tomato company specializing in using insects to pollinate and control pests. In March 1999, rumors abounded that Colorado Greenhouse was about to take an initial public offering to the market. The company actually filed a to sell 5 million shares for more than $30 million in order to expand its operations, but never launched the offering.

At the height of operations, Colorado Greenhouse operated the greenhouses in New Mexico, a 38-acre facility in Brush, a 40-acre greenhouse in Fort Lupton and a 13.5-acre greenhouse in Rifle.

Sunblest Management LLC purchased the three Colorado greenhouses in November 2001. According to David Fahrenbruch, general manager of Sunblest Farms, none of the Colorado Greenhouse principals are employed by the company.

“We retained some staff from Colorado Greenhouse, but everybody involved in the ownership is gone,” Fahrenbruch said.

At the time Sunblest took over the three Colorado greenhouses, the company employed 500 people and produced approximately 425,000 pounds of tomatoes annually. Currently, Sunblest employs about 400 people at the three sites. The company didn’t disclose its production.

GREELEY — The last remaining pieces of Colorado Greenhouse Holdings Inc. have been sold to Agstar of New Mexico, a unit of Agstar Power in Leamington, Ontario.

Agstar bought the greenhouse facilities — one in Estancia, N.M., and one in Grants, N.M. — last month from Farm Credit Services of Greeley for an undisclosed amount.

Farm Credit Services took possession of the two New Mexico greenhouses in 2001 after Colorado Greenhouse went bankrupt.

The agricultural lender had loaned Colorado Greenhouse more than $20 million to build the greenhouses. When Colorado Greenhouse filed for bankruptcy in 2000, the greenhouses operations were stopped.

The bankruptcy…

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