Maximum Yield Industry News October/November 2020 - Page 41

But all the due diligence and preparation on the property side of the equation means little if the tenant can ’ t pay their rent because production falls short of projected targets due to inefficient facility design , or worse , if a poorly designed space is prone to frequent turnover and extended time sitting empty . Time to break out the antacid ? Not if the property owner works strategically to create a turnkey space that can be tailored to cultivators ’ differing methodologies . As someone who has worked to develop more than 2 million square feet of cannabis production space from New England to the West Coast and 20 states in between , I ’ ve done a fair share of retrofitting in poorly designed facilities . The common thread : The architects and contractors who designed and built these facilities weren ’ t familiar with the specific needs inside a commercial cultivation facility . It ’ s pretty hard to design a facility for maximum productivity if you ’ re not actually familiar with cannabis cultivation techniques and processes , and what those mean for the design and construction of the facility . Failing to design a cultivation facility that enhances productivity is a fatal flaw that usually ends with costly renovations . The good news is such problems can be avoided . Developing a facility for cannabis cultivation and setting it up for long-term success is a massive undertaking that requires expertise in the various ways cannabis is grown and processed at scale , understanding of building infrastructure requirements , and deep knowledge of state and local regulatory compliance . Getting the right team together on the front end sets property owners up for sustained success . The site needs a design-build team equally knowledgeable in both cannabis cultivation and building construction . In broad terms , you ’ ll want an appropriate architect to design the space , a property developer to address site infrastructure needs , and a cannabis consultant to ensure all needs are met and the facility is built to flex with the cultivator .
Think Like a Grower
Four walls and a roof isn ’ t enough for a cultivation company that needs to start production immediately and start generating cash flow . Likewise , a poorly designed facility creates a nightmare scenario for a landlord if quality cultivators don ’ t want to work there . If the facility footprint doesn ’ t match the grower ' s goals , it creates a disconnect that hampers production efficiency , and makes it harder for the grower to meet their bottom line — a terrible thing to realize six months into a five-year lease . When first considering the buildout and garnering a potential long-term partnership , a property owner should put themselves in the grower ’ s shoes . To meet a cultivation company ’ s growth trajectory , scalability is the watchword . Leasing at an expensive cost is a non-starter if the space can ’ t be optimized . There are also brand considerations . For example , a company may be drawn to the ability to reuse irrigation water as a way to promote its sustainability-focused brand . Another critical aspect of thinking like a grower is workflow . Many architects don ’ t know where to start with their design . While a grower will tell them that the flower rooms are the linchpin and compartmentalizing is important to limit the spread of pests , what ’ s the plan for scaling ? There are also regulatory requirements , such as how many plants are allowed at various sizes of growth . A consultant can provide the big-picture view on what number of rooms will work best for weekly harvest schedules versus twice-monthly harvesting , for example . It ’ s also crucial to ensure the HVAC , electrical , and dehumidification systems will be able to handle the increased loads as production capacity is maximized .

DEVELOPING A FACILITY for cannabis cultivation and setting it up for long-term success is a massive undertaking that requires expertise .”
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