Executives from a publicly traded pot firm joined U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly and other elected officials Tuesday to break ground on a massive new cultivation center in south suburban Matteson that will eventually support hundreds of new jobs.
Phoenix-based 4Front Ventures, which already grows and sells weed in Illinois, plans to complete the 550,000-square-foot greenhouse by the end of next year. During a news conference, Matteson Mayor Sheila Chalmers-Currin described the cannabis facility as a “great addition” to her village and the region, saying it will offer a swift economic boost.
“It is quite evident that cultivation centers have a remarkable economic impact on local communities throughout the nation,” Chalmers-Currin said as trucks barreled through the developing industrial area behind her. “This project will provide over 500 jobs, ranging from construction to operation.”
J.T. Archer, 4Front’s chief of development, explained the license for the company’s current cultivation facility in Elk Grove Village would eventually be transferred and used in Matteson. The existing operation, known as Illinois Grown Medicine, is far more humble, producing only a “small” share of the state’s cannabis, Archer told the Sun-Times.
The “funding source” for the new facility, he told reporters, is Innovative Industrial Properties, a San Diego-based real estate investment trust that trades publicly and has a $5 billion market capitalization. The company has bought up at least six cultivation centers in the state, including Illinois Grown Medicine, which like the others has been leased back to the operator.
Kelly, who also serves as the head of the Illinois Democratic Party, framed the new growth center as Matteson’s latest effort to “wholeheartedly embrace the future,” saying such communities “could no longer depend on shopping malls or on the main street model of small shops and businesses.”
“Matteson is now on the forefront of creating a 21st century local economy,” she said, noting the village is already “home to a state-of-the-art Amazon fulfillment center that has created 1,000 full-time jobs.
“And today, we’re breaking ground for one of the largest cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facilities in Illinois,” added Kelly, who later donned a construction helmet and dug into the dirt during a photo op with company leaders and other officials.