Three prominent commercial properties in Santa Rosa that were the long-time homes of well-known entities — T&B Sports, the Sonoma County Farm Bureau and Cokas Diko furniture outlet — are now slated to become marijuana businesses, the strongest sign to date of how deeply the cannabis industry is taking root in the city.
The three properties in northwest Santa Rosa have all sold in recent months either to cannabis operations or to new owners leasing the sites to cannabis cultivation, manufacturing or testing facilities.
The million-dollar-plus sales suggest that the “green rush” of investment that many predicted would follow California’s 2016 approval of marijuana for recreational use is coming to pass in Santa Rosa. It was the first city in the region to create a legal pathway for commercial cannabis production and its proposed tax framework is viewed favorably by the industry.
“A lot of people from all over are interested in Santa Rosa,” said Joe Rogoway, a local attorney whose firm specializes in cannabis law and represents all three proposed cannabis operations.
The turnover of long familiar sites in the city to cannabis operation may come as a surprise to many residents. It is a sign of how profoundly the city’s commercial landscape could be transformed by the expansion of marijuana businesses.
Already, competition for property in areas zoned for industrial uses has heated up, inflating prices and squeezing out some non-cannabis enterprises, according to a veteran real estate broker.
“The cannabis folks are bidding up prices to a very high level,” said Al Coppin, president of Santa Rosa brokerage Keegan & Coppin/Oncor International. “And they’re making it difficult for other ordinary businesses” who want to find spaces in order to start or expand their operations.
When Santa Rosa first opened its doors to the cannabis industry this time last year, the projected rush from marijuana ventures was initially more of a dribble.
Just three growers stepped forward proposing modest operations in out-of-the-way locations — a vacant lot on Sebastopol Road, an auto repair shop behind Corby Avenue’s Auto Row, and a tile shop in an industrial park in the northwest corner of the city.
But now the city has 24 approved or pending cannabis applications. The latest wave of interest signals that pot ventures are now making moves to snap up better-known locations in commercial sections of the city where cannabis production and processing is allowed. None is so familiar as this trio:
Local supplier to schools, leagues
San Rafael-based T&B Sports, which has been in the city for 35 years, is closing at the end of this month. The owners, under a limited liability company known as 2049 West Steel Lane, and store manager Mel Arnerich, sold the West Steele Lane building in January for $4.25 million to Steele Park LLC based in Newport Beach.
In December, city planners received an application from New Tropic Collective Inc. of San Francisco to operate medical cannabis manufacturing, lab testing and wholesale distribution at the location.
The proposal calls for increasing the building’s floor area to 32,000 square feet from 22,378 square feet by adding second floor space. The parking lot would be expanded to 82 spaces from 37.
A hearing before a city planner is slated for April 6 because of a concern raised by neighbors.
Read more coverage of North Bay cannabis commerce: nbbj.news/cannabis
This story originally appeared on PressDemocrat.com at pressdemocrat.com/news/6814868-181/tb-sports-site-among-prominent?artslide=0