Cannabis 'hub' to boost Mendota's economy
FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) - The so-called Cantaloupe Center of the World will soon be looking at another crop to generate money and jobs: cannabis.
"We can't stop it, but we want to make sure we can control it and bring some revenues into our community,” says Mendota City Councilman Robert Silva.
Mendota has been plagued with double-digit unemployment for years.
It was at 16.2 percent in December.
But things are looking up for 2018.
There is development underway on the westside, with a Taco Bell and other businesses building and hiring.
And there is re-invention, on the east side.
"The whole concept here is a cannabis campus," says developer Tim McGraw with Canna-Hub.
He is in the final phases of buying an old, 100,000 square-foot cold storage facility along Marie Street, to prepare it for cannabis growers, processors and labs.
"It’s not that far from 99 and not that far from 5. Logistically it’s good for covering the state," he says. “The police department is a stone’s throw from here, too.”
Canna-Hub will own the building, and lease space to pot-related businesses.
The first phase – in the current buildings on the site—could bring up to 100 jobs.
“They’ll need everything from trimmers to chemists,” McGraw says.
Canna-Hub will serve as the point of contact for the city-- since it has already completed the permit process.
It will pay Mendota $8 a square foot – or $800,000 a year.
The city’s annual budget is $2.2 million.
It will receive $100,000 in the first fiscal year.
"It sounds so good and it could be too good to be true, but we have to approach this cautiously,” says Mendota City Manager Vince Dimaggio.
He says he won’t factor that money into the city’s budget just yet.
But local leaders already know how they’d like to see it spent.
"More parks, recreation programs and job development," says Silva.
McGraw says the site has adequate power and there is a well for water.
He expects Canna-Hub’s Mendota location to open as early as April.
Canna-Hub's permits allow its facilities to carry out most cannabis-related operations, except for outdoor grows and dispensing.
McGraw says he's already had plenty of interest from businesses looking to move in.
"I'm getting 8 to 12 calls a day, and 4-5 hits daily on-line," he says.