Legal cannabis has birthed multibillion-dollar public companies, minted billionaires, and brewed social change not seen since the end of Prohibition.
Battle Creek Enquirer
Battle Creek is taking steps to become a hub in Michigan’s cannabis industry.
Chicago-based DB3 Agricultural Solutions LLC has a purchase agreement with Battle Creek Unlimited for 100 acres of land in the northwest corner of the Fort Custer Industrial Park, an area envisioned as a “cannabis campus.”
DB3 is planning to build a 5-million square-foot complex called Sensi Park, offering lease spaces such as custom “condos” that cater to different marijuana licence types: grow processing, testing (safety compliance) and secure transportation. The campus will not include cannabis retail operations.
The sale price for the parcel on River Road is $1 million. The purchase agreement was signed on Feb. 22.
Prior to the agreement, BCU reached out to companies within the 3,000-acre Fort Custer Industrial Park, where an estimated 13,600 employees work, to help ease concerns.
“I think we’ve tread lightly in this. This is a new, emerging market,” said Joe Sobieralski, president and CEO of BCU. “We have a great industrial base in Battle Creek. This development is something that complements a lot of what we have and is going to be a win-win. They are starting in cannabis, but this is ultimately an indoor agricultural facility.”
Stevan Bratic, of Bratic Enterprises LLC in Royal Oak, is consulting with DB3 on the project. He said the plan had been to break ground “on or before 4/20” and have phase one ready for people to move in by the third quarter of this year, before the coronavirus outbreak caused delays.
DB3 had a previous purchase agreement to build at the North Muskegon Business Park in Dalton Township before that deal fell apart in November after the site was found to be contaminated.
“Battle Creek is a great community,” Bratic said. “It already has a lot of technology in the local industry and labor that we can pull from, as well as surrounding cities… Because Battle Creek is a progressive city, that’s an advantage we have coming into this property and feel this is a tremendous opportunity to help each other.”
The proposed complex, believed to be the largest of its kind in the state, will allow marijuana businesses to lease, lease-to-own or purchase space, although they would still need to be licensed and approved by local boards. Bratic said he is designing a natural gas power plant to provide tenants with free power. The gated campus will also have a bank, armed security and 24-hour surveillance.
Where safety is concerned, the isolated location on River Road made it an ideal space for the proposed complex, said Robert Corder, vice president of attraction at BCU.
“Situated off the main road in a corner of the park that doesn’t get a lot of drive by traffic, so it’s a safe and secure venue for this kind of operation,” he said. “On top of that, the industrial park has the available utilities, which include water, sewer gas and electric and the available load to handle a large-scale development of this type.”
Bratic said DB3 has reached out to Lake Superior State University, Michigan State University and the University of Michigan about partnering for educational opportunities within the cannabis industry. He said the firm has received a letter of intent from a potential anchor tenant.
“I have been communication with all of our realtors, lawyers and accountants in the industry, and it’s not just in Michigan, but multi-state companies and Canadian companies that want to come in Michigan, that want to grow and support the local community,” Bratic said. “The success of this will allow us to open the doors for further growth.”
Nick Buckley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269-966-0652. Follow him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley
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