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Temescal Wellness is planning to open a cannabis cultivation facility in the Crane building in Hardman Industrial Park.

Cannabis Cultivator Plans to Open in Former Crane Building

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Temescal Wellness is planning to turn the Crane & Co. factory into a cannabis cultivation facility with about 80 jobs to start.
 
Temescal, which has marijuana dispensaries in New Hampshire and Massachusetts including one in Pittsfield, has a purchase-and-sale agreement for the nearly 10-acre property inside Hardman Industrial Park on Curran Highway.
 
"This is something that I think is is an opportunity for both sides really," said the company's representative, attorney Joshua Lee Smith of Bowditch & Dewey LLP. "This is a great opportunity for Temescal. This is a gem of a property. They've been searching for a property for a long time and this is it. 
 
"At the same time I think this is a great opportunity for the city."
 
Smith told the Planning Board on Monday that the company had been "welcomed with open arms" from the mayor on down.
 
The 80,000-square-foot building would be renovated into a greenhouse facility with all growing and processing done inside. There would be some exterior changes to accommodate seven loading areas but the major changes would be inside the structure as the open space for producing stationery is sectioned off for stages of plant growth. The 179 parking spaces would be slightly reduced because of the changed loading areas but total will now include three new accessible parking spots.
 
The stationery plant closed last year, putting more than 200 people out of work. Mohawk Fine Papers blamed the pandemic and the bankruptcy a major distributor for the closure; some employees shifted to the company's New York plant.
 
"I did quite a bit of research in terms of what happened, what transpired with respect to Crane and I don't want to dwell on that, it was, unfortunate," Smith said. "But I do want to emphasize that there are going to be new jobs created. So, I think that the timing couldn't be better. You're going to have an operator coming in here who is entrepreneurial in spirit, sophisticated as far as this type of an operation goes ... and [has] a terrific track record."
 
Temescal has agreed to an impact fee of $60,000 in its first year of operation, to $100,000 and $180,000 in its second and third year, and to $200,000 in the fourth and fifth years of the community host agreement, or 3 percent of its gross sales, whichever is smaller.
 
It also agrees to do its best to use city vendors and hire city employees, and to participate in drug education programs.
 
He told the planners that Temescal has complied with local and state requirements in the communities in which it operates and benefits communities not only through host agreements but in supporting local charitable endeavors.
 
"They want to continue that in this community, as well. Not because they have to but because it's just part of them being a good corporate citizen," Smith said.
 
The security system would include cameras inside and outside, with alarmed access to interior areas, and lighting will be brought up to the state Cannabis Control Commission standards.
 
Vice President of Production Tom Haffly said there would be four levels of odor control.
 
"The first level that we have the greatest success with is carbon filtration, which we'll place in all of our air handling and air factor equipment, as well as on all exhaust equipment," he said. The others are plasma, filtration and scrubbing, and finally to a Falco odor management system.
 
In response to question of how far the odor could travel, Haffly said, "without treatment a couple 100 feet, you will be able to smell from the perimeter of the building, but with treatment I mean you can get pretty close to the building before you experience any kind of odor.
 
"When we started to put on the the final layers, you can't smell anything when we put Falco on ... It smells like, like peppermint, almost, instead of cannabis."
 
The facility would be open seven days a week with workers doing 10-hour shifts four days a week.
 
The Planning Board on Monday approved the project. The city has a right of first refusal for the property that it will act on Tuesday.
 
In other business, the planners:
 
Approved the siting of a 121-foot cell tower for Pittsfield Cellular Co., doing business as Verizon, on land owned by Holland Co. on South State Street. The tower would be near the solar array behind Mohawk Auto Sales. Company representatives said the tower will aid in 4G coverage along Route 8.
 
• Approved Heather Jones to operate a training, grooming and day care facility for dogs at 96 Union St., the former location of plumbing distributor Torrco that moved to 50 Roberts Drive. Jones said she is moving to North Adams because the space she had in Williamstown is no longer adequate to her needs. The building is owned by Scarafoni & Associates.
 
• Approved Brendan Bullett and Matthew Tatro to operate a gift and variety store 20 Marshall St., in the former Men's World barber shop. The store will be called Pop's Variety, after the longtime Union Street package and convenience store demolished nearly 20 years ago.
 
• Approved Jennifer Stevens and Gregory Howard to operate an independent bookstore at 28 Holden St. to be called the Bear and the Bee Bookshop. It will be open Wednesday and Thursday from 11-7, Friday and Saturday from 11 to 8, and Sunday from noon to 6. Stevens said the store would be a carefully curated collection of used (80 percent) and new books, and a resource for health, environment, feminism, social justice and science fiction.
 
• Approved  Continued to the next meeting a request by Blackinton Operating LLC to renovate the former church at 1288 Massachusetts Ave. as an event space for the Tourists hotel. The board had previously OKed a restaurant there but plans changed during the pandemic. The group that owns the property has also requested an adjacent plot be rezoned as Business 2, the same as the former church property. This has been recommended to the City Council.
 
• Allowed to be withdrawn without prejudice an application by Elizabeth Young and Jose Gonzales to sell clothing and records at 117 Union St.
 
• Voted against a request by Ed's Variety to put two 4-foot by 5-foot signs on the building to advertise new products. The manager, Vijaykumar Sukhdiya, was asked to work with the building inspector on signs that comply with ordinance.

Tags: cannabis,   Planning Board,   

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North Adams Glamping Project Moving Forward Under New Owner

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A glamping business that never got off the ground is now under the direction of a new operator.
 
The Planning Board on Monday approved a new special permit for Benjamin Crespi of Brooklyn, N.Y., to develop and operate an outdoor recreation resort at 976 Notch Road. 
 
The property owned by Brian O'Neil was transferred to 196 Marine LLC, a New York limited liability company, for $1.45 million on March 16.
 
"We intend to operate a project as outlined in the permit, and I think we're very excited about this opportunity," said Crespi. "We understand the permit and the conditions, intimately. I think my background and experience will lend itself to a successful project."
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