Prime Vertical LLC plans to build two warehouses on industrial-zoned land in Bend to rent out to multiple marijuana businesses.

The plan comes as the Oregon Liquor Control Commission plows through a backlog of new and renewal license applications and is not processing any new applications until it catches up. But the company has one cannabis firm with an existing recreational license committed to leasing 7,000 square feet, said Charles Bauman, CLSG Consulting Inc., the company representing Prime Vertical. Construction should begin next year on the first warehouse, he said.

“We’ll build the first phase first and then evaluate the marketplace to see what the market will bear,” Bauman said. “This will be a proof of concept for us, the idea that came through is to build the best facility for this kind of industry.”

Prime Vertical plans to build two buildings — one 7,000 square feet and the second 13,000 square feet — in phases on vacant land at 20755 High Desert Lane. Key components of the building interior will be walls that inhibit mold and other pathogens, perimeter fencing and security to comply with OLCC regulations, Bauman said.

Nineteen off-street parking spaces and landscaping around a perimeter fence are included. A traffic study also is required by the city.

The applicant, Ed Bonn, forwarded questions to Bauman, who led a required community meeting Thursday for property owners in the vicinity.

About six people attended the meeting, but only Cascade Indoor Sports voiced concerns about the business model being proposed. The sports center, which is next door to the proposed facility, is the physical education site for three schools, Butch Roberts, the owner of the facility.

Prime Vertical LLC lists a Las Vegas address for its mailing address, according to property tax records. This is its first foray into cannabis industrial development, Bauman said.

The multiple-tenant cannabis facility isn’t the first of its kind in Bend, said Nicolas Lennartz, a Bend city assistant planner. Such facilities are legal under OLCC rules, provided that each tenant has a separate address and doesn’t share ownership, said Mark Pettinger, OLCC spokesman.

“We have other facilities like this in Bend,” Lennartz said. “Many of the other sites are in repurposed facilities. This is a pretty straightforward project.”

Erin Kennedy, director of operations at Swell Co., a processor and wholesaler in Portland, said this kind of facility appeals to startup cannabis businesses who don’t have their own location or can’t find rental space that is cannabis-friendly. However, she said that with the low prices currently being fetched these days for Oregon cannabis, anyone planning to start a new grow site has to embrace a long-term investment.

“The price of product is in the basement right now,” Kennedy said. “But processors may like these kinds of facilities because it provides lower overhead. You just can move in and grow without making an investment for improvements.”

— Reporter: 541-633-2117, sroig@bendbulletin.com

21884102