Cannabis business approved for old Hartford Courant warehouse

HARTFORD — The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission has approved plans to convert a former Hartford Courant distribution warehouse into a cannabis cultivation business.

The plans were submitted by River Growers CT. The business would take over the old distribution warehouse at 121 Wawarme Ave. According to a presentation made to the commission, River Growers will use the site for “cultivation and manufacturing,” but not retail. The company also submitted plans for security and odor control in the area. Plans call for 75 percent of employees to be local residents.

The warehouse is 140,000 square feet. According to the plans, River Growers will start with 5,000 square feet of manufacturing space and 30,000 square feet of cultivation space, then will expand within the building over the next 24 months.

The business has support from several local community members, according to commission documents. State Rep. Edwin Vargas, D-Hartford, Hartford City Council Majority Leader T.J. Clarke and the South End Neighborhood Revitalization Association all voiced support for River Growers.

“I strongly support the location and mission of River Growers’ venture and request that they be granted the necessary permits for operation,” Vargas wrote in a letter to the commission. “They would be a welcome addition to the state’s cannabis market, and I have had the pleasure to meet and discuss the plan with the leadership team.”

The proposed location is near a school and Colt Park, which led some residents to write to the commission in opposition to River Growers. But the Colt Park Foundation also said it supports the development, according to a letter sent to the commission.

“The Colt Park Foundation is endorsing River Growers’ application for a special permit as a cannabis cultivator and product manufacturer,” the foundation wrote. “We believe that this business is ideally suited to the location. It will stabilize the property adjacent to Colt Park and the neighborhood. The building is in good repair, has existing roof structure to support solar energy reducing its energy consumption, has more than adequate parking, and will not significantly increase the traffic in the area.”

The commission approved the plans, with the added condition that River Growers must work with the city if an “odor nuisance” problem arises in the future.


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