Calgary looks to develop Canada’s first cannabis business hub

Calgary Alberta cannabis business park, Calgary looks to develop Canada’s first cannabis business hub

Alberta’s most populous city is throwing its doors open to the cannabis industry, designating part of a massive industrial park as a cannabis business “hub.”

“We recognize the opportunity the cannabis industry provides for Alberta and Calgary to diversify its economy and want to collaborate and facilitate the growth of the industry here in our city,” said Alex Wihak with the city of Calgary.

“Calgary is open to the cannabis industry.”

When cannabis legalization goes into effect across Canada on Oct. 17, the door will open to a multibillion-dollar industry – for businesses that can wrestle market share from the illicit market.

Seventy-six of the 588 companies awaiting a license to be a cannabis producer are in Alberta.

Calgary hopes to convince some of them to plant their flag at the Point Trotter Industrial Park, which has 186 acres available in the first two phases of development.

While it is not exclusively for marijuana businesses, it is an industry the city is specifically marketing these lands toward.

Not just cultivation

The city’s Real Estate & Development Services (RE&DS) business unit is spearheading the initiative. The agency’s job is essentially to leverage Calgary’s property assets to benefit all.

The aim of the initiative is to attract businesses up and down the cannabis supply chain, including:

  • Cultivation (macro or micro)
  • Processing and extraction
  • Product development
  • Research & development
  • Packaging
  • Automation design and manufacturing
  • Testing and destruction

What’s in it for businesses

Executives contacted by Marijuana Business Daily say the proximity to Calgary workforce and transportation facilities are an advantage.

In addition, RE&DS says it has experience with Health Canada’s licensing process and can help companies getting the requisite permits.

Other benefits include:

  • RE&DS is willing to provide a company with an additional due diligence period, so it can gain more certainty that licenses will be granted by Health Canada, which means a smaller financial commitment prior to federal approvals.
  • Synergies and partnership opportunities may exist because of the cluster of businesses engaged in same industry and similar activities/operations.
  • The land is fully serviced and construction ready, providing more cost and timing certainty.

Who’s on board?  

So far the city has sold a 1.06 acre lot for the development of a 10,000 square foot facility for a cannabis company.

Calgary is also under contract with a current Health Canada applicant that is proposing to develop a 65,000 square foot cultivation facility, with future expansion planned on a total of 4.7 acres. Some extraction/processing also will occur there.

Another Health Canada pre-applicant wants to develop a 120,000 square foot cultivation facility with future expansion capability on 4.56 acres.

Pinnacle Biotech – a consulting and managed services firm for cannabis cultivators – said it plans to build a production facility in the Point Trotter Industrial Park later this year.

Phil Holmstrom, co-founder of the industrial park, said its advantages include assistance from the city, ready access to city services and location with like businesses nearby.

“When we were looking at locations, our first question was ‘is the municipality friendly or not?’ And Calgary is,” he said.

Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]
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