ADAMS — The owner of an indoor marijuana-production facility on Howland Avenue also wants to set up an outdoor cultivation site just behind the renovated warehouse.
LC Square, a marijuana-cultivation and manufacturing center at 173 Howland Ave., is seeking a special permit from town officials to be able to set up a 3.1-acre outdoor cultivation site just behind his interior growing center.
On Thursday, Art Babayan, owner of LC Square LLC, hosted a remote Community Outreach Meeting on Zoom, as required by the Cannabis Control Commission as part of the process of opening a marijuana-cultivation operation.
During the meeting, Babayan said the interior project will be ready to begin operations close to the end of this year. He had hoped to open in 2020, but coronavirus pandemic challenges delayed the renovation project.
He explained that the outdoor grow site is directly behind the warehouse that is under renovation. The site would have to be cleared of a few old foundations and graded.
The grow would be surrounded by an 8-foot-high panel fence, rendering the grow site invisible to passersby. It also would be covered by netting to protect the crop from birds and still allow the sun to shine in.
The site is about 400 feet from the road, and about 500 feet from the closest residence.
Babayan explained that the interior grow requires lots of electricity for lighting and air circulation. The outdoor grow, although it only can be productive from May to September, doesn’t require nearly as much power.
Surrounding the grow site will be other vegetation, such as jasmine, that will help to dilute the aroma of growing marijuana for neighboring properties.
Babayan said he is committed to exceed security measures required by the CCC, including 72 security cameras around the site.
Babayan’s is a small operation, and he is the sole proprietor.
Once all is complete, he expects to hire 35 to 45 employees from the local area, with most of those positions to be full time. An additional five seasonal employees would be needed for the outdoor grow.
The business will be strictly on the cultivation and manufacturing side, selling wholesale product to retail stores. Babayan asserted that he will not be getting into the retail side himself.
“There are no deep pockets behind us,” Babayan said. “I went into debt to do this, and there is a specific reason I came to Adams — because the town has been so welcoming and helpful.”
He expressed gratitude to town officials, and for their willingness to offer him aid and guidance during the process. “It’s really been like a partnership.”
Babayan stressed his interest in contributing to a local nonprofit involved in drug education and awareness, and his interest in negotiating a community impact fee to be paid to the town.
“We want to do right by you,” he said. “I’m all about education.”
Dave Rhoads, chairman of the Adams Board of Health, said he is excited about LC Square coming to town.
“I’m thrilled about the expansion, and I really appreciate your focus on education,” he said. “This is a good thing for Adams, economically, and socially, I think it’s also a good thing.”
Babayan noted that he is looking for a house in Adams, intending to move here from his home in Natick. In fact, he bid on one property but swiftly was outbid in the sizzling real estate market, he said.
The structure at 173 Howland Ave. served as a mill from the early 1900s, when the original structure was built. Through the years, several additions have been made. Most recently, it served as a warehouse for storage and sale of wood pellets, and as home to Lane Construction Corp.
The building encompasses about 38,000 square feet. It was listed for sale with an asking price of $275,000, and LC Square paid $225,000 in 2019. Babayan said his total investment in the property and operation startup for the indoor cultivation operation will be about $500,000.