KANKAKEE — A Bradley man is transforming a former machine shop location in west Kankakee into a 4,000-square-foot indoor hydroponic produce growing facility.

The company, K3 Amerigreens, 1283 S. Seventh Ave., Kankakee, gained a conditional use permit Monday from the Kankakee City Council. The council approved the permit by a 14-0 vote.

The business, co-owned by Dustin Kooy, a 2007 graduate of Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School, should have its business license within the next two to three weeks.

Kooy made it clear the business will not be growing marijuana.

“We are not interested in that whatsoever,” he said.

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without soil by instead using mineral nutrients solutions in a water solvent. Plants commonly grown hydroponically include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce and marijuana.

The business, located in Kankakee’s 4th Ward, should be fully operational within four weeks, Kooy said. He said the business will employ fewer than five, but if it grows as anticipated, he said additional Kankakee locations would be sought.

Rather than marijuana — which is what many people assume will be grown inside an “indoor growing facility” — the business will be growing kale, lettuce, herbs, micro greens and wheat grass. The product will be sold to organic grocery outlets as well as grocery stores and restaurants, not only in this area, but in Chicagoland and others locations around the country.

When fully up and running, Kooy said the location will be able to produce 16,000 heads of lettuce per month and 1,000, 10-inch-by-20-inch trays of wheat grass and micro greens per month as well.

The South Seventh location was previously zoned commercial, but a conditional use permit was needed.

The property had most recently been used as a hydroponic operation, but it was being run illegally as it was never granted a conditional use permit, noted Kankakee Planner Mike Hoffman.

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