Mass. will be home to America’s Largest Medical Marijuana Facility

*Originally Published by Catherine Carlock, Boston Business Journal

Denver-based medical marijuana facility developer AmeriCann (OTCQX: ACAN) has named Campanelli Construction the general contractor for the first phase of its planned 1 million-square-foot Massachusetts Medical Cannabis Center in Freetown, which will be the largest facility of its kind when fully built out.

The facility is planned on a 53-acre tract in Freetown that had been owned by Boston Beer Co. (NYSE: SAM) for close to a decade. AmeriCann acquired the property this fall for $4.475 million in cash. Boston Beer had acquired the site in 2007 with plans to potentially develop a brewery there, but the project fell through. Prior to AmeriCann’s purchase, the 53-acre site has been listed for sale since 2008.

Tim Keogh, CEO of AmeriCann, said that he aims to make the Massachusetts Medical Cannibis Center “the place in the northeast U.S. for the creation of a wide variety of exciting new advanced products for medical cannabis patients.”

The first phase will include a 130,000-square-foot cultivation and processing facility and a separate 30,000-square-foot research and development building, Keogh said in an interview. Campanelli expects construction crews to break ground in March and wrap up by October. Combined infrastructure development costs for the first phase could hit $25 million, Keogh said.

Rob DeMarco, a partner at Campanelli, said the facility will “establish a prototype for best-in-class cultivation facilities” that could be replicated in future. Beyond Massachusetts, AmeriCann is exploring real estate development opportunities for medical marijuana facilities in California, Pennsylvania and Florida.

Coastal Compasson will be the tenant for the first 130,000-square-foot space at the Freetown facility, and aims to have cannabis in production by fall 2017. What’s more, Freetown’s Board of Selectmen has approved an additional 800,000 square feet of space at the facility.

The development of that space will be split into phases, Keogh said. Construction crews can add up to 160,000 square feet of additional greenhouse space to the first 130,000-square-foot building without any disruption to cultivation, while subsequent phases could include a 300,000-square-foot warehouse expansion and an additional 260,000 square feet of greenhouse space.

Plans for the Massachusetts Medical Cannabis Center were formalized long before the statewide legalization of recreational marijuana use — but the passage could spur faster development at the 1 million-square-foot project.

“What the legalization component does is potentially triggers the additional phases coming online sooner, just based on the need for infrastructure, than we would if it was just medical,” Keogh said.