ADAMS — The man behind a proposed indoor marijuana cultivation facility on Howland Avenue hopes to have the business up and running by early next year.
And it appears that local suppliers and contractors will be a big part of the team working to open the facility.
Art Babayan, the principal in LC Square LLC based in Natick, said the project received its provisional license from the state Cannabis Control Commission in mid-June. With that in hand, Babayan has been working on a design with Westall Architects, and town officials have been helping him connect with local contractors and suppliers to prepare for building renovations and alterations.
The structure at 173 Howland Ave. served as a mill from the early 1900s, when the original structure was built. Over the years, several additions have been made. Most recently, it served as a warehouse for storage and sale of wood pellets, and as home to Lane Construction Corp.
During a visit to the site, Babayan said the property already has been cleared of decades of gathering debris and likely will be developed in phases. The idea is to finish out enough space during the first phase to get the growing and packaging process started, with expansion into other spaces to come later. But a lot depends on the cost of renovation. Once that's done, the budget will dictate the size of phase one.
Once the design is set, Babayan hopes to have local contractors in place to start working on securing and winterizing the building with work on roofing and siding, and then move inside to complete the interior during the winter months.
"I hope to engage with local people first," Babayan said.
He hopes to begin operations within the first six months of 2020.
The building encompasses about 38,000 square feet. It was listed for sale with an asking price of $275,000, and LC Square paid $225,000. Babayan said his total investment in the property and operation startup will be about $500,000.
In establishing a marijuana cultivation facility, Babayan said his three main priorities are making sure the business is safe, secure and compliant with state regulations.
The operation will be strictly cultivation of wholesale marijuana, and no retail or medical sales will be conducted there. The marijuana grown there will be sold at wholesale rates to medical marijuana dispensaries and retail marijuana shops.
But for now, Babayan is focused on getting the team set.
"I want to express my gratitude to local contractors and to the town of Adams," Babayan said. "They are very cooperative and they are guiding us, doing whatever they can from their side. So, I'm happy that I'm in Adams. They've definitely shown me I'm welcome here."
Town officials said they are happy to help.
"Just like Adams Hometown Market and B&B Micro Manufacturing, this is another example that the town of Adams is open for business," said Jay Green, Adams' town administrator. "Whether a developer is local or from outside the region, the town of Adams is committed to providing a clear road map to setting up shop here.
"Whether it's offering guidance on obtaining required permits or making connections with other businesses and contractors in the region, positive collaboration between local government and the private sector from concept to operation is how successful economic development will occur in Adams. The town is pleased that Mr. Babayan and his partners chose Adams, and we look forward to their grand opening."
Once the site is operating, Babayan hopes to employ at least 10 employees from the local area and eventually as many as 20 people.
Scott Stafford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-629-4517.