BUFFALO, N.Y. — The pitch to build a $200 million cannabis growing facility to South Buffalo appears to be moving forward. The developer, Zephyr Partners LLC, has submitted its site plan to the Buffalo planning board and will seek approval at their meeting on October 25.
Zephyr CEO Brad Termini said he expects to close on the 47-acre plot of land at Buffalo's Lakeside Commerce Park and told 2 On Your Side on Thursday he hopes to have "shovels in the ground in the beginning half of next year."
"We think it's a phenomenal opportunity for not just South Buffalo, but we think there will be a lot of cannabis companies that spin off from what's going on at this campus," said Termini, whose first pitched this project back in early 2019.
That was two years before New York would pass legislation making adult-use recreational marijuana legal.
At full build-out, Termini said the campus located between Ship Canal Parkway and Route 5 will be over 1 million square feet, spread across several buildings. Those buildings will be erected in stages he added.
Our partners at Buffalo Business First reported Thursday that Phase 1 documents filed with the planning board show a two-story, 136,000-square-foot production facility and adjoining 7,000-square-foot building at 310 Ship Canal Parkway.
When asked why Termini chose South Buffalo for his project so many years ago, he said, "I was born and raised in Buffalo so having an opportunity to kind of take the experience that we have in the cannabis industry in California and bring that back to our home town, to bring a new industry, jobs and equity opportunities to the region is just really incredible."
And while construction may be just months away, it remains unclear when New York's fledging Office of Cannabis Management will release licensing and sales information for business owners such as Zephyr to begin to profit. When the state's recreational cannabis legislation was signed, lawmakers said regulations should be expected 12 to 15 months later.
"As much progress New York State has made, there is still a lot left undetermined within the regulations. That's why we're starting with Phase 1 to kind of get going, and we'll be able to have a more definitive timeline on the remainder of the project once the legislation is dropped and adopted," Termini said.
When complete he added the facility could employ as many as 800 people.