Marijuana Business could bring 500 Jobs to Battle Creek
Battle Creek Unlimited is getting inquiries from businesses who want to locate large medical marijuana operations in the Fort Custer Industrial Park. That’s the word from BCU CEO Joe Sobieralski, who was Tim Collins’ guest on Tuesday’s WBCK Morning Show.
Sobieralski said that every community in Michigan has the chance to opt in or opt out of allowing such businesses. He said BCU has gotten inquiries from in the “growing and processing” category. He said, “I’m not endorsing it one way of the other, but the reality of it is that these operations are well-funded, they’re very sophisticated, and they come with hundreds of jobs.” He said they could absorb abandoned or vacant buildings and pay employees wages of $18.00 per hour with benefits. “I would estimate that if Battle Creek were to opt in and allow medical marijuana growing and processing, you’re probably talking 300 to 500 jobs almost instantly.” Sobieralski hopes the new Battle Creek City commission will take this up for a vote.
Several downtown Battle Creek properties are still in limbo, and local leaders have given up on one developer, 180 Urban. Sobieralski said the Calhoun County Land Bank sold properties to the developer David Schiacca for a dollar each, about two years ago. He said the deal came with some timelines to get capital in place and move forward. He said BCU got involved a year ago to try and get things moving, and now he says they will be taking the properties back.
The properties in question are at 15 Carlyle Street (former Officeways Building), 64 West Michigan (SE Corner at McCamly) and 119 West Michigan (Anson Hotel Building).
Sobieralski says the agreement made last year gives BCU every right to take the properties back. He says they’re prepared to go to court to do that, per the agreements, but he hopes it won’t come to that. He said that once they get the buildings back, they’ll aggressively try to find people with ideas and capital and get things happening.