Since legalization was enacted in 2014, it has become normal for those residents who pass through an industrial district in Denver to become enveloped in the smell of fresh marijuana harvests. This is likely due to the fact that one out of 11 industrial buildings in the Centennial State’s capital city is filled with growing cannabis, being cultivated to perfection for retail sale.
Colorado’s marijuana industry occupies nearly 3.7 million square feet of commercial space in Denver and in recent years, was accountable for nearly 36 percent of all industrial space in the Mile High City.
“It really kick-started the recovery of the industrial market in Denver,”
said Jessica Ostermick, director of research and analysis for CBRE, a real estate firm in Denver.
With increasing market needs and plenty of available space, the legal marijuana industry has brought the real state economy back to life, productively filling spaces that would otherwise remain empty. However, many in the cannabis industry are finding it difficult to purchase building space at low rates. Instead, it is reported that cultivation tenants often pay a leasing premium of two to three times the average renter. Some property owners refuse to lease to cannabis cultivators due to loan constraints and overall federal law conflict.
Through the city’s regulated processes of obtaining and remaining in lease, growers are flourishing in Denver, and the real estate market is thankful.
About 200 miles east of Seattle, four young entrepreneurs are living the startup life in many of the same ways as Silicon Valley technologists. These guys aren’t writing code or creating the next 3d printing technology though. Instead they are wiring greenhouses, calculating nutrient formulas, and tweaking hash oil extraction methods.
The four twenty-something entrepreneurs have diverse backgrounds in politics, engineering, physics, and economics, but as so many students do, bonded smoking pot in college. After graduating from school and dabbling in the corporate life, the team converged in Washington on to use Miles and Connor Deife’s family farm for a large scale marijuana grow.
It took some convincing to get the family on board with the idea, as Miles and his brother Connor’s grandfather had once threatened their inheritance if they even smoked weed. As it turns out Grandpa Deife had a soft spot that you probably won’t find shocking; money. Miles and Connor’s mother was the one who pitched the idea to their grandpa, all but guaranteeing a return on his sizable investment.
The foursome got the ball rolling with $350,000 in capital and a 20 acre purchase of the family land. They submitted their paperwork to acquire three Tier 3 licenses (allowing for 21,000 feet of marijuana grows) back in December of 2013 and waited for their approval. Meanwhile they were each honing in on the task ahead, combing through every grow regulation, studying plant physiology, and fine tuning their leadership skills.
The team rolled up their sleeves and built out the grow facility by hand. It took the better part of a year to complete, working on things like constructing security fences, building the greenhouses, and wiring the facility by hand. As with any startup the guys wore many hats, worked through the night, and figured it out as they went.
Now that their grow facilities are built and operational, the young startup is moving full steam ahead. The team is processing marijuana into hash oil and say that they can make $40,000 a day doing so. Even with the high overhead of $10,000 monthly electricity bills, the team expects to pay off their $350,000 investment plus interest in early 2015.
The four guys are currently still sharing a small farm house (more like a frat house) and pulling all nighters. Miles spends most of his days making deliveries across the state and has secured a contract to turn 4 tons of marijuana into hash oil concentrate in the coming year.
It seems that the teams startup approach to the pot farm and entrepreneurial spirit will soon pay off. Big time. Similar to the Silicon Valley of the early 90s these guys got in at the ground level, and now the sky is the limit. As Washington and a slew of other states begin expanding their marijuana programs, this will be one of many more success stories of young entrepreneurs to come.
A legal cannabis cultivation center caught fire, in Denver, over the weekend. The fire was reported just before 8:00 a.m. Saturday in an industrial area south of downtown Denver.
Greg Pixley, Denver Fire Captain, told Channel 7 news that the fire sparked when a light bulb came loose from the ceiling, and crashed to the ground.
One person suffered smoke inhalation, but was treated and released from the hospital. No one was seriously injured. The responding rescue team was able to prevent the fire from spreading which contained the damage to just the one room.
photo credit: pinimg