Former Bendix property may become marijuana biz

  • The former Bendix site at the end of Laurel Street in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 5/7/2019 11:17:11 PM

GREENFIELD — The former Bendix property site will be bought by a marijuana company looking to run both a cultivation and retail business on Laurel Street by late 2021.

Greenerside Holdings has agreed to the terms of purchasing the former Bendix property from the city for $365,000. The company was the lone bidder during the city’s request-for-proposal period, according to city officials.

The business expects it will generate enough profit in its first seven years that the city can anticipate about $740,000 a year in tax revenue. In the early stages, the owners expect to create 50 to 100 jobs, of which a third will be guaranteed to Greenfield residents.

Its owners, who have been in discussions with Mayor William Martin and the city since Christmas, have also pledged to make a “sizable fixed contribution to the coveted library,” according to its request for purchase.

On Tuesday, the owners said they plan to give at least $100,000 toward the new public library, which still needs a vote in support from the community in the upcoming election. The money would come over a period of a few years.

The owners have also committed 1 percent of its net profits to: NELCWIT, Just Roots, Friends of Greenfield Recreation, New 2 U Dog Rescue, Franklin County Community, Community Action’s Family Center, Greenfield Women’s Resource Center, Greenfield Community College and Artspace Community Arts Center.

The deal for the Bendix property is contingent on permits both locally and from the state, along with meeting the guidelines of the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The former industrial site that was primarily used for metalworking has been riddled with hazards for years. Both the state and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have deemed the area with asbestos and other harmful chemicals in need of high levels of remediation.

In April, the site was moving toward compliance with the state, according to DEP records.

Martin said the city is working with the state to make sure it’s in compliance, but he said while the city may add this company to its tax role and generate revenue from marijuana sales, it’s still early in the process.

“It’s like hitting a grand slam,” Martin said. “It doesn’t count until you touch home plate. We have a lot of work to do before that happens.”

Greenerside Holdings attorney Atakelti Desta said his client does not anticipate issues with getting the site up to environmental standards.

The businessmen hope to be on the fast track for securing a license from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission because it will be minority-owned, which means it can jump to the top of the list; the commission has tried to prioritize people who have been disproportionately impacted by the criminalization of marijuana although the state has yet to see minority-owned businesses and instead has often yielded to big businessmen, who are white, and from out of state.

Desta said he and his client, led by Jaison Cramer, president and CEO of the company, felt Greenfield was a good fit for them after speaking with Martin.

“The more we got to learn about Greenfield, the more we realized it would be an even greater match,” Desta said.

The fact the city has already welcomed Patriot Care, the medical and retail pot shop in town, was a plus. It showed them, Desta said, that Greenfield is open to the idea of the marijuana business.

The company’s request for proposal explains part of its business model. The businessmen believe the best price to sell one pound of marijuana, with over 23 percent THC, will be at least $2,500 a pound.

They also believe the market will need a larger supply of marijuana.

“While information is limited on revenue generated from cultivation, it is well-established that Massachusetts’ current marijuana supply appears to be well below even the most conservative estimates of recreational demand,” the request for proposal documents read. “This signifies an untapped market share that has been encouraged by the Commonwealth for a substantial amount of time.”

You can reach Joshua Solomon at:

jsolomon@recorder.com

413-772-0261, ext. 264


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