Medical-Marijuana "Business Park" Growing in Tempe

Zoned Properties, a medical-marijuana real-estate company, is developing what it bills as the state's first "medical-marijuana business park."

The Scottsdale-based company announced on March 17 that it had signed a deal to lease 25,000 square feet of space in a building near 52nd Street and University Drive in Tempe, with an option to lease 40,000 square feet. As a press release notes, Zoned Properties lobbied Tempe successfully to change its zoning requirements a few months ago, allowing 25,000-square-foot medical-marijuana cultivation and food-processing facilities.

Zoned Properties, as documents from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and City of Tempe show, agrees to put $2.5 million of development into the site at 410 Madison Drive, then collect a rent that increases over time. The lease deal is with Catalina Partners III LLC, the firm behind the Catalina Hills dispensary in Tucson. Zoned has to file with the SEC because it sells stock to the public.

Back in January, the up-and-coming company touted how it got the city ordinance changed. The city required previously that cultivation centers could have only one door, which restricted their size to 5,000 square feet. Ryan Levesque, deputy director of planning at the city of Tempe, stated in the company's release at the time that city officials were "pleased" with the changes.

"Tempe had initially adopted an ordinance that cautiously addressed these new business ventures and the unknown impacts," he's quoted as saying. "The changes to the Code for cultivation facilities offer an appropriate flexibility while maintaining an appropriate level of regulations for enforcement."

The Scottsdale company has 13 acres under cultivation in Chino Valley and buildings for a dispensary in Green Valley and planned facilities in Kingman, an investor-relations report details. The Tempe facility aims to be large, with more than 80,000 square feet at 410 and 422 South Madison dedicated to cannabis-related purposes.

Zoned Properties has posted increasing revenues in the last couple of years, but has had some setbacks, including numerous lawsuits and the loss of Chief Operating Officer Patricia Haugland, who's threatening to sue.

It's run by industry insider Bryan McClaren, who serves as CEO, and has a cannabis celebrity on its board of directors: Irvin Rosenfeld, a Florida stockbroker who's one of the country's first medical-marijuana patients to receive free cannabis from the federal government in an experiment that's been running for 30 years. The company's controlled and backed by McClaren's father, Dr. Alex McClaren, the program director for Banner Health's Orthopedic Residency Program, and Washington resident George Johnston.
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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.