NILES, Mich. --- On Tuesday, two medical marijuana growing businesses received preliminary state approval to open up in Niles. They are now clear to begin the building process while they wait for final approval.
The two businesses are MichiCann and HDS Investments.
"It's an opportunity to increase economic development in the area," said Niles Community Development Directory, Sanya Vitale. "Niles was a manufacturing community for a very long time."
She hopes it can be again with companies like these taking a chance on Niles.
Vitale says, the marijuana industry has taken a great interest in Niles right now. She says, the city has received anywhere from five to twenty calls a day.
“The two agencies that were recently approved through phase one of the state's process will now complete phase two with the City of Niles, while they complete phase two with the State of Michigan,” said Vitale.
Phase one was the application phase. The companies both clearing financial requirements and an intensive criminal background check.
Jeff Durrell is one of the partners behind HDS Investments. He says Niles was always the company's’ first choice and is very excited they got through the first phase.
“We’re going to put in about one and a half million dollar investment into a brand new building on Lake and 13th street,” said Durrell.
The land is currently home to an abandoned parking lot filled with weeds and street cones.
The next step is to start building while they wait to be approved by the state for an operating license.
“We have to have an inspection once we complete the building and that’s the easiest part, because we are building from the ground up to the state specifications,” said Durrell.
Residents had mixed reactions to the news of these businesses getting another step closer to moving in.
Roni Albert owns the Red Rooster Auction House and Consignment Shop just a few blocks away from where HDS Investments will be building.
“I don’t have nothing against the company, but what I have against it's down the street less than a quarter of a mile from a school," said Albert. "There are a lot of small children in this area and I don’t think it's appropriate business so close to a school setting.”
Ronny Booker lives just a few blocks away from the lot.
“I think it’s going to do the same thing alcohol and tobacco did. It had its big push on that back in the day and we're seeing that today," said Booker. "I just think it’s going to be benefits then it’s going to downsize if you subscribe to those services you just have to decide what side you want to be on."
Security on the HDS Investment property will be high tech. Durrell says, the building will be fenced in with key pass gates, video surveillance and infrared alarms.