ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The Hamm’s Brewery in St. Paul closed in 1997, and now one of the vacant buildings is being renovated into an urban farm.

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A group called Urban Organics wants to bring more jobs, fresh vegetables and fish to restaurants and markets in the Twin Cities.

The building has been vacant for more than 100 years, but now it will be home to organic veggies and fish.

Urban Organics has been transforming the building for over a year. And when it’s done huge 3,500-gallon tanks will hold a lot of fish.

“We’re going to have 15,000 fish,” said Dave Haider of Urban Organics. “We’re going to start with tilapia, and then branch out to some other species further down the road.”

All that fish is going to help produce quite a bit of produce.

“You’re going to see massive racks of leafy greens being fertilized naturally and organically by the tilapia that will be living inside the bins,” said Fred Haberman of Urban Organics.

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Growing indoors has its challenges, though.

“We’re at least going to do leafy greens, lettuce, herb, basil, spinach,” Haider said.

Thick walls will also help keep in the heat.

“The exterior walls are three-and-a-half-feet thick, so it really holds temperatures nicely,” Haider said.

Besides locally grown food and fish — the company says they’ll help bring in jobs. They’ll supply local markets, and schools.

In addition to the City of St. Paul, Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems is also involved in the project. The facility should be operational by fall.

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Sonya Goins, Producer
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