Real Estate Archives - Green Market Report

StaffNovember 30, 2021
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Chicago Atlantic Real Estate Finance, Inc. is a newly formed commercial real estate finance company or REIT. The current portfolio is mostly first mortgage loans to state-licensed operators in the cannabis industry. The company expects the IPO to be priced between $16.00 and $18.00 per share and could raise as much as $129 million. It has applied to list the common stock on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “REFI”.

The existing portfolio contains loans to companies with operations that are geographically concentrated in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The current investment strategy includes a focus on providing loans to companies with operations in states that limit the number of cannabis license issuances in order to protect the value of the collateral, circumstances and developments related to operations in these markets that could negatively affect its business.

According to the company’s filing, as of November 22, 2021, it had originated and closed 30 loans totaling approximately $649 million to companies operating in the cannabis industry, had approximately $318.3 million of loans outstanding and were committed to funding approximately $120 million in additional loans under commitments from existing credit facilities (subject to customary closing conditions), with approximately $98 million of potential loans under executed non-binding term sheets in various stages of underwriting and loan documentation. The interest rates range from a low of 7% to 15% and all the loans have prepayment penalties.

The company said it had reviewed over 500 cannabis loan opportunities, of which 30 loans have been funded, and, as of November 22, 2021, were evaluating 45 loan opportunities representing potential total loan commitments of approximately $882.9 million. “We believe our relationship with our Manager benefits us by providing access to a robust pipeline of potentially actionable opportunities, an extensive relationship network of cannabis industry operators and other real estate loan opportunities and significant back-office personnel to assist in the origination and management of loans.”

“We expect cannabis lending will continue to be a principal investment strategy for the foreseeable future; however, we expect to also lend to or invest in companies or properties that are not related to the cannabis industry if they provide return characteristics consistent with our investment objective. We are externally managed by Chicago Atlantic REIT Manager, a subsidiary of Chicago Atlantic Group.”


StaffNovember 4, 2021
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After the market closed on Wednesday, cannabis REIT company Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (IIP) (NYSE: IIPR) reported its third quarter earnings with total revenues growing 57% to $53.9 million over the prior year’s third quarter. This beat that average analyst estimate on Yahoo Finance for revenue of $52 million. The stock was rising by over 4% to lately sell at $271.

IIP attributed the increase to the acquisition and leasing of new properties, in addition to contractual rental escalations and amendments at certain properties to provide additional improvement allowances that resulted in adjustments to rent.

Rental revenues for the quarter ending September 30, 2021 and 2020 included approximately $1.4 million and $2.8 million, respectively, of tenant reimbursements for property insurance premiums and property taxes.

IIP reported net income attributable to common stockholders of approximately $29.8 million for the quarter, or $1.20 per diluted share, and adjusted funds from operations (AFFO) of approximately $45.0 million, or $1.71 per diluted share (Note: AFFO per diluted share for the period includes the dilutive impact of the assumed full exchange of IIP’s $143.75 million of exchangeable senior notes (the Exchangeable Senior Notes) for shares of common stock). This also beat the estimates for earnings of $1.16 per share.

The company noted that from July 1, 2021 through October, made five acquisitions (including four new properties and additional land expansion at an existing property) for properties located in California, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri and New York, and executed four lease amendments to provide additional improvement allowances at properties located in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts and Michigan.

The REIT paid a quarterly dividend of $1.50 per share on October 15, 2021 to common stockholders of record as of September 30, 2021, representing an approximately 28% increase over the third quarter 2020’s dividend. As previously announced, going forward as a general matter, IIP’s board of directors expects to evaluate adjustments to the level of IIP’s quarterly common stock dividend every six months, with any adjustments expected to be declared in the first quarter and third quarter of each year.


StaffOctober 20, 2021
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The privately-held cannabis  mortgage real estate investment trust (mREIT) Pelorus Equity Group has increased it $250 million to $1 billion. So far, Pelorus has completed 58 commercial real-estate loan transactions and has  deployed $225MM to cannabis businesses and real estate owners.

“Pelorus intends to use the net proceeds from the increased offering to continue to be the best-in-class non-bank real estate lending solution for cannabis owners and operators across their companies’ life cycles,” said Travis Goad, managing partner of Pelorus Equity Group. “This will include a new stabilized lending program with three- to five-year amortizing loans to quality sponsorship, and be offered to current borrowers upon construction completion, as well as to new borrowers that meet the company’s underwriting criteria.”

The Pelorus portfolio now totals 1,850,000 sq. ft. in eight states across the U.S. The company also said it has the has the potential to approve construction draws to reimburse the borrowers in an average of one to three days and with one agreement covering the financing of the entire project.

“Our Company launched its $100MM offering in 2018, and then in 2020, upsized it to $250MM, but with the 300% growth we’ve experienced in 2021, we continue to see an acceleration of institutional interest in our thesis and core strategy,” said Dan Leimel, CEO of Pelorus Equity Group and manager of the Pelorus Fund. “As more owners and operators look for quicker draws to generate revenue sooner and a steady flow of deals in our pipeline and investors enter the emerging sector, we expect to have more than $250MM assets under management by the end of the year and for our growth to only continue to accelerate at a rapid pace over the next year. We look forward to continuing to capitalize on our deep understanding of the sector, industry relationships and firsthand experience in cannabis commercial real estate to make more high-impact investments that deliver added value to both our clients and investors.”


StaffOctober 18, 2021
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Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (IIP)(NYSE: IIPR) has purchased a 201,000 square foot industrial property in Desert Hot Springs, California from Gold Flora, LLC for $51 million. Gold Flora will then lease the building and is expected to complete additional improvements for the property, for which Innovative Industrial has agreed to provide reimbursement of up to $9.0 million. Assuming full reimbursement for the improvements, IIP said its total investment in the property is expected to be $60.0 million.

“We are excited to welcome Laurie and the Gold Flora team as our newest tenant partner,” said Paul Smithers, President and Chief Executive Officer of IIP. “Gold Flora has established a strong reputation and presence in the largest regulated cannabis market in the world, California, and we look forward to supporting them as a long-term real estate capital partner for many years to come, as they continue to expand the breadth of their operations and reach throughout the state.”

Gold Flora was founded in 2017 and is a vertically integrated operator in California, including cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and retail. The company’s team includes Chief Executive Officer Laurie Holcomb, Chief Operations Officer Greg Gamet, Chief Financial Officer Chris Martin and Chief Cultivation Officer Phillip Hague. Earlier this year, Gold Flora announced a strategic partnership with Stately Brands, including the establishment of an advisory board to Gold Flora and financing to further expand Gold Flora’s retail operations, brands, and distribution network.

“Teaming with IIP on this transaction strategically unlocks capital for us as we focus on our continued growth in California, and we look forward to working with the IIP team for many years to come as our go-to real estate capital provider,” said Laurie Holcomb, Chief Executive Officer of Gold Flora. “In a few short years, I am proud of what our team at Gold Flora has accomplished, with our best-in-class line of products and strategic relationships that I believe will continue to distinguish us in the California marketplace, as we look to expand our footprint and distribution throughout the state.”

As of October 18, IIP now owns 76 properties located in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington, representing a total of approximately 7.5 million rentable square feet (including approximately 2.8 million rentable square feet under development/redevelopment), which were 100% leased with a weighted-average remaining lease term of approximately 16.7 years. In addition to that, IIP said it has committed approximately $1.9 billion across its portfolio, including capital invested to date (excluding transaction costs) and additional capital commitments to fund future construction and tenant improvements at IIP’s properties.


Debra BorchardtSeptember 29, 2021
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Cannabis real estate loan company Pelorus Equity Group has announced that its Pelorus Fund, a private mortgage real estate investment trust has closed a private placement of $42,250,000 aggregate principal amount of its 7% Senior Unsecured Notes due September 30, 2026. Possibly the even bigger news is that Pelorus, along with its Notes, received a BBB+ rating from Egan-Jones Ratings Company. This puts Pelorus on par with Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE: IIPR), which also has a BBB+ rating.

“We’ve been experiencing great success from the transactions we’ve funded in the cannabis space, and are committed to keeping that momentum going,” said Dan Leimel, CEO of Pelorus Equity Group and manager of the Pelorus Fund. “Most banks are reluctant to offer capital to cannabis-related businesses, but our team has been forming strong partnerships with industry players for years now. Not only do we differentiate ourselves by forming trusted relationships, but we also continue to bring first-of-its-kind lending solutions to market that benefit the entire cannabis ecosystem.”

Pelorus said it plans to use the money from the offering for its operations which will include a new stabilized lending program with three- to five-year amortizing loans to quality sponsorship. It will be offered to current borrowers upon construction completion, as well as to new borrowers that meet the company’s underwriting criteria.

Leimel added, “I want to commend our team for achieving this first-of-its-kind win for the cannabis sector. Our BBB+ ratings reflect a critical achievement in the current growth phase of our Company, as well as our fiscal stewardship, robust portfolio, corporate governance, and  financial strength.”

Piper Sandler & Co. acted as the placement agent for this offering. Dentons served as counsel to the Company and Morrison & Foerster LLP served as counsel to the placement agent in connection with the Notes offering.

Pelorus Loans In Action

Last month Pelorus announced that it entered into a $19 million construction-financing loan with Item 9 Labs Corp. (OTCQX: INLB). The Pelorus’ loan money will be used to finance the acquisition of 44 acres of adjacent land next to Item 9 Labs’ 19,200 sq. ft. facility in Arizona, which has been operational since 2017. The loan will also be used to finance the master site development. Construction of phase 1 consists of three additional steel buildings and two greenhouses. This initial expansion adds 9,600 sq. ft. for indoor cultivation, 9,600 sq. ft. of lab and packaging, and a 9,600 sq. ft. head house to support the addition of the two 18,000 sq. ft. greenhouses. The total expansion will consist of six more buildings – one will be for expansion of the company’s lab and support space for the finished product, and the other five will be for indoor cultivation. Once complete, the Item 9 Labs site will comprise 640,000-plus sq. ft. of cannabis operations.

The collective loan balance across Item 9 Labs’ subject properties in Arizona and Nevada provides for a principal amount of approximately $19 million at an annual interest rate of 16% over a term of 18 months. Construction is expected to be completed over the next three years and will increase Item 9 Labs’ capabilities to meet the growing consumer marketplace and wholesale demands in Arizona and Nevada. 

Pelorus moved quickly on our complex transaction and was able to help navigate multiple hurdles on the way to closing when other previous potential lenders failed to perform. With the Pelorus team by our side, supporting our growth plans, we’re in a sound position to complete our expansion and capture more market share,” said Bobby Mikkelsen, CFO of Item 9 Labs Corp.

To date, Pelorus has completed 55 commercial real-estate loan transactions and deployed $204 million to cannabis businesses and real estate owners, comprising 1,750,000 sq. ft. in eight states across the U.S. With the ability to approve construction draws in an average of one to three days, and with one agreement covering the financing of the entire project, the Pelorus Fund helps to stabilize cash flow for its clients so they can remain focused on their core business goals and objectives.


StaffSeptember 28, 2021
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Goodness Growth Holdings, Inc.  (CSE: GDNS)(OTCQX: GDNSF) closed on a sale/leaseback deal with Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (IIP) (NYSE: IIPR) in New York. Goodness Growth reported that it sold IIP approximately 92.3 acres of land for $1.2 million. The site is next to Goodness Growth’s existing cannabis cultivation and processing facility in Johnstown, New York, which was formerly the site of a juvenile detention center. IIP said it plans to provide a tenant improvement reimbursement to Goodness Growth of roughly $55 million for the construction of a new 324,000 square foot cannabis cultivation, processing, and research and development facility.

“We are looking forward to beginning construction on this state-of-the-art facility in New York, which will immediately become the flagship cultivation and processing facility in our Company’s portfolio,” said Goodness Growth Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Kyle Kingsley, M.D. “This facility will produce the highest-quality indoor flower we’ve ever produced and help prepare our business for the massive spike in demand expected when New York’s adult-use cannabis program goes online next year. This facility will also support the expansion of our retail network in New York as we look to open up to four new dispensaries next year, which would bring our total number of stores in New York to eight.”

Goodness Growth and IIP isad they will partner on the development of the project and will amend the terms of their existing lease agreement to incorporate the new facility. The initial annualized base rent will be 10.5% of the tenant improvement budget plus the purchase price, for a term of twenty years. The lease amendment contains a rent escalation clause that is triggered in the event that Goodness Growth doesn’t satisfy certain strategic benchmarks, which would increase the rent by 1.5%.

Goodness Growth is one of ten licensed operators in New York’s medical cannabis program. It was previously known as Vireo Health, but the company changed its name this past summer.  It currently operates four dispensaries in QueensWhite PlainsAlbany and Binghamton under the Vireo Health name, as well as its home delivery business which serves the New York City metro area. The company said it plans to rebrand all its dispensaries in New York to its Green Goods national dispensary brand after the onset of the adult-use program next year.

Goodness Growth also forecasts that it expects to generate total revenue in the range of $140 to $180 million in its fiscal year 2022 and that it expects to generate adjusted EBITDA in the range of $35 to $55 million in the fiscal year 2022.


Debra BorchardtSeptember 20, 2021
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Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (IIP) (NYSE: IIPR) paid $1.35 million for a property in Missouri and entered into a long-term lease with CPC of Missouri – Smithville, LLC (CPC), a subsidiary of Calyx Peak, Inc. (Calyx). CPC is expected to construct approximately 83,000 square feet of industrial space at the property, for which IIP has agreed to provide reimbursement of up to $26.72 million. IIP’s total investment in the property is expected to be $28.25 million. CPC said it intends to operate the property upon completion of construction as a licensed cannabis cultivation and processing facility.

“We are excited to announce this new long-term real estate partnership with Calyx, expanding our footprint into Missouri as our 19th state,” said Paul Smithers, President and Chief Executive Officer of IIP. “Calyx has developed a strong reputation for quality, award-winning cannabis products in California, and we look forward to working closely with the Calyx team in coming months on the development of this new state-of-the-art facility in Missouri, as Calyx expands its operational platform to meet the tremendous growth in demand from patients throughout the state.”

Calyx currently operates a 235,000 square foot cannabis cultivation facility in California, and expects to begin construction on a dispensary location in southern California in the near future. Calyx also has a Tier 3 cultivation license and a provisional adult-use dispensary license in Massachusetts, and expects to open a dispensary in the West Plaza neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri later this year. Founded in 2016, Calyx is headquartered in Massachusetts and plans to be vertically integrated in three states by the end of 2022.

“We are thrilled to enter into this long-term real estate partnership with IIP for the development of this new facility in Missouri,” said Erin Carachilo, CEO of Calyx, and Lee Hoffman of CPC. “While less than one year since the launch of Missouri’s medical cannabis program, we have witnessed a tremendous rate of adoption by patients and growth in sales throughout the state, and look forward to completing the development of this facility, which will be designed with next-generation systems in a highly controlled environment that will enable us to bring our premium, diversified genetics at scale to Missouri patients.”

Missouri began legal medical cannabis sales in October of 2020, and regulated medical-use sales have grown rapidly since then, with total sales in August 2021 alone of approximately $22 million, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. As of August 31, 2021, there were over 177,000 patient applications and 5,800 caregiver applications in the state. Missouri’s regulations provide for numerous qualifying medical conditions for treatment with cannabis, including, among others, cancer, epilepsy, PTSD, HIV/AIDS, terminal illness, Alzheimer’s and any chronic medical condition normally treated with prescription medication that can lead to dependence. In addition, petitions for Missouri voters to approve the adoption of an adult-use cannabis program are targeting the November 2022 ballot.

 


StaffAugust 20, 2021
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Cannabis REIT NewLake Capital Partners, Inc. (OCTQX: NLCP) closed on its initial public offering raising $102 million and began trading on the OTC on Friday August 20. The company closed on 3,905,950 shares of common stock at an initial public offering price of $26.00 per share.

“The closing of our IPO is a significant milestone and provides us with additional investment capital to continue our growth trajectory as one of the leading providers of real estate capital across the cannabis industry,” said David Weinstein, Chief Executive Officer of NewLake Capital Partners. “We want to express our gratitude to the investment community for supporting our initial public offering and believing in our long-term vision.”

NewLake Capital Partners is an internally managed triple-net lease REIT that purchases properties leased to state-licensed U.S. cannabis operators. NewLake currently owns a geographically diversified portfolio of 27 properties across 10 states with 8 tenants, comprised of 17 dispensaries and 10 cultivation facilities. The company said its tenants include companies like Curaleaf, Cresco Labs, Trulieve and Columbia Care. As of June 30, 2021, New Lake said these properties were 100% leased and primarily located in limited-license jurisdictions.

Anthony Coniglio, President and Chief Investment Officer of NewLake Capital Partners, commented, “NewLake’s current portfolio consists of assets leased to high-quality companies in the cannabis space. As the cannabis industry continues to expand, with additional states recently legalizing cannabis for medical or adult-use, the potential for further growth of our portfolio continues to accelerate. With the additional capital, we expect to expand our portfolio and increase our revenue streams to provide meaningful value to our shareholders.”

Executive Management

 Chairman of the Board of Directors, Gordon DuGan, most recently served as Chief Executive Officer of Gramercy Property Trust, a formerly NYSE-listed REIT, during which time the company grew substantially and was sold to Blackstone Equity Partners VIII, LP for $7.6 billion. Chief Executive Officer, David Weinstein, has extensive commercial real estate banking and investment experience and was formerly the Chief Executive Officer of a NYSE-listed office REIT. Anthony Coniglio, President and Chief Investment Officer, founded a cannabis REIT that the Company merged with in March 2021 and has more than 30 years of experience in real estate and banking. Board member, Peter Kadens, was the Co-Founder and former Chief Executive Officer of Green Thumb Industries, one of the leading cannabis companies, and provides valuable insight into the cannabis industry.


Debra BorchardtAugust 9, 2021

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Debra Borchardt, Editor-in-Chief, Green Market Report:

Rob Sechrist is the president of Pelorus Equity Group, a company that you may not be familiar with, but you will soon. This company is a little unique. It’s a mortgage REIT (real estate investment trust), not a traditional REIT. And Rob, why don’t you explain to our audience a little bit about that difference? Because most people are really familiar with their traditional REIT that buys buildings and then takes the lease money and gives that back to the shareholders. This is a little bit different. Can you go into that?

Rob Sechrist, President, and Co-founder of Pelorus Equity Group:  

Sure. Debra, thanks for having me. I’m happy to explain the difference. Most people are unfamiliar that there’s more than one type of REIT that traditional REIT owns properties, like IIPR. A mortgage REIT simply means that that is a lender that’s able to get the same tax advantages of a traditional REIT. Those tax advantages, just to re-clarify are 20% savings on your federal taxes. You only pay state taxes in the state that you’re domiciled.

GMR: 

Your company specifically focuses on the cannabis industry and what you guys do is help cannabis companies that need money to build out their facilities, which can be a really expensive endeavor for a cannabis company. How are you approaching these cannabis companies with this help?

Sechrist: 

Our background is what we call value-added lending. In our world “value add” means that we are improving the property with a portion of our loan is going back into the property with a pre-approved budget. Typically, it’s going to be tenant improvements. It could be ground-up construction, but this is the largest newly created asset class in the country. We’ve extrapolated the data that it’s about $50 billion real estate asset class that just magically appeared. When that asset class was created by the legislature, in each of these states, those properties actually in order for them to be legal the real estate needs to be approved and that side is one element of it. It has to be built out. It has to be a purpose for cannabis use tenant, and then the tenant, the cannabis use operator must also be approved by the state. Those two elements, once they’re plugged together, that is a legalized property and now you’re on your way and it’s one of the 50 billion.

GMR:

To your point with cannabis, it isn’t so easy to just go to a bank and get a construction loan. So you’ve put up all this money to buy this building. You’ve spent all this money to get these licenses and these applications approved. A lot of these companies have spent millions just to get to basically square one. That’s really just the first inning of the ball game. They still have to build out these facilities, which is even more money. A lot of times, they’re kind of starting to get tapped out at that point and they can’t just go to a typical bank and say, “Hey, we got to build out this building. We’re a legit company. We’re not doing things that are illegal.” But the banks are just like, “No way.” The major banks want nothing to do with this, right?

Sechrist:  

The major federal banks are not in the sector. The state banks and credit unions, there are 684 that are doing deposit relations for tier-one plant-touching operators and businesses. And of those banks, there’s probably a few dozen that are actually lending, but the banks are difficult to get loans in general. They certainly are not in the value add lending space at this time. And more importantly is that when you go to build a cannabis facility, typically these properties, the tenants are doing 10 to 15 times more revenue per month than a non-cannabis use tenant. And why I’m giving that and focusing on that is that to be focusing purely on your rate and points for the loan, as opposed to the speed of getting that property up and stabilized is very shortsighted. You want to get your property built as quickly as possible.

Our average borrower takes about 12 months to build and stabilize their property. And we’re typically processing 50 to 100 draws for the borrower to be reimbursed for the expenses that they’ve put out for the pre-approved budget. So for example, if your facility is doing one to $2 million a month or has the ability to do that, and you want to save a couple of percent, and even if it was a 10% difference between our rate and a bank rate, that premium might be a million dollars or $2 million in a year. But if you’re doing one to 2 million a month, that premium is absorbed, if we save them one month. Typically, we’re going to save at least 20% compared to other private lenders best in class and probably six months with a bank. And so it’s a no-brainer once you analyze it.

Unfortunately, the cannabis use borrowers are so focused on brands. They have so many things going on, compliance, inventory, genetics, all the stuff that they’re trying to deal with. A lot of them haven’t worked with a construction loan before, and they have only done their own home mortgage. The only thing they ever knew at that time was the rate and the points. So they’re not aware that you need a high-performance loan and they might get into a loan and realize, “This isn’t even going anywhere. I have to advance the money. I’m not getting reimbursed fast enough.” Usually the project comes to a stop. That is not the situation you want to be in. Plus Pelorus is the first dedicated holistic lender for the cannabis sector back in 2016. And we look at the cannabis use properties as a holistic approach. A bank does not do that.

We want to make sure that we provide all the money that is necessary or make sure that all that is encapsulated in our loan that gets the property acquired, built out with the tenant permits and the equipment to make sure that, that tenant can actually start operating. A bank would not provide all those features to that loan. And so you might have a situation where the tenant doesn’t have the money because the property is not cash flowing yet. And they’re not able to go raise that equity that’s necessary for the equipment to build it out. And this equipment is enormously expensive. Some of the equipment as a whole, for the project might be more than the purchase price of the building. And so if you are trying to go raise that money for equipment for a building you don’t even own, it’s a very difficult challenge. So you want to have a solution that is holistic in the approach. And we were the first to do that.

GMR:

One of the things that kind of differentiates Pelorus is your rates are quite high, but to your point, you’re getting the money to the client faster, correct?

Sechrist:  

We offer high-performance loans to achieve what the borrowers looking to do. 100% closing ratio of all the transactions that we’ve ever done. I don’t know if any other lender can say that. More importantly, or just as important as closing is to make sure that the facility gets up and running and built as quickly as possible. And so you need to look at that ratio of what is the pricing savings that you would get with a lower pricing loan as opposed to what is the opportunity revenue that we lost by not penetrating the market and not getting this facility up and running as quickly as possible. So as today, most of the cannabis community knows who we are and knows that this is the place that they want to go to get a facility built.

GMR:

How much money have you guys raised today?

Sechrist:

We’ve deployed more than $185 billion. We’ve got about $60 million going out in the next 30 days or so. So we’ll be to $250 million here in the very near future.

GMR:

You’re working with some pretty big names. I saw you’re doing a deal with Acreage Holdings (OTC: ACRHF) for a fairly large amount.

Sechrist: 

We did a deal with Acreage Holdings in the fourth quarter of last year. By the way, they are big enough that they could have gone to an institutional rate. So in that specific scenario, their board came to the realization that they needed to look at the entire cost of the capital, not just the pricing of the loan and they quickly determined in the end that was the direction to go after. Our pricing does shock people, but that’s because you’re buying a high-performance loan and there’s a lot to go into process, an unlimited amount of draws in one to three days. Nobody else can do that. That is so important. And that’s what you need to be focused on. If you want to go and take your time and have the lowest cost, and it really doesn’t matter how long it takes for that facility, then you probably want to start with another lender.

GMR: 

That’s pretty interesting. Now, we’ve seen a lot of situations in Canada with regards to overbuilding. Some of the companies like Canopy Growth (NASDAQ: CGC) has shut down some of their indoor facilities. Do you feel that because the United States is so early on in its legalization, that we’re not going to be in that kind of situation, that we have companies that could get overbuilt with regards to facilities?

Sechrist:    

So two comments there. In Canada, as far as we know, there’s nobody that had built a hundred thousand or a million square foot facilities that were at scale in the entire country and anywhere in the world. So you have people that are trying to scale from zero to a thousand or whatever on the first try and by the time that facility gets built, you realize we didn’t build this correctly, and you have to write that whole facility off. So, they didn’t have a learning curve and they made mistakes up in Canada that I don’t think that you’ll see duplicated. And certainly not to that same extent, that happened up there. One was, is that you really only had a gray market or illegal market operators that were mostly operating outdoors. Some of them might’ve had some indoor greenhouses, but they would have been tens of thousands of feet, not hundreds of thousands or millions of square feet.

When you go to that scale, you have different challenges that you’re trying to deal with. And if you get it wrong, you’ve already built the facility, before you realize we didn’t configure this properly. And it’s actually less expensive to sell this property and to go somewhere else. We started analyzing the sector because we realized that our skills in value add lending were immediately applicable to the sector. We analyzed it and we originated the first transaction in 2016. We only did small transactions to make sure that not only were we learning what the borrowers needed to do, but they were learning as well.

So we scaled with small facilities, 10,000 square feet, 20,000. Now, we do 100,000 square feet and larger, but we worked our way up to understanding the market. Secondly, we also built the first proprietary database where we analyze each of the cannabis operators that are licensed within each state. We identify who they are, what types of licenses they have and we associate what properties they’re in. We look at the average build cost, the average price per square foot of the universe of properties. For each of these types of licenses. So we know the size of the capacity of the market is existing. We also look at some other things with other technology we look at to understand, “Is this market reaching capacity from a production size? Is it oversupplied? Is it under-supplied?”

We’re monitoring all of that stuff. So we’re using data and facts to analyze this. Typically in most lending sectors of the country, there would be a hedge fund, or there would be a third party doing this and spending millions of dollars to analyze this. Well, we needed that data. So we had to make the investment ourselves and so today we have a very robust, what we call the big data project that we pull all that data and extrapolate it to help us make our decisions.

GMR:

I was wondering with regards to risks, so risks for your investors. In this situation, you’re lending money to these companies to build out their facilities. What is the risk that they potentially aren’t able to complete that facility, whether they’ve run into other problems elsewhere? Certainly, it’s the cannabis industry. We’ve seen lots of situations blow up pretty quickly. Are you, or have you seen anything like this, and have you seen other companies willing to then jump in and take over? What is your situation with that?

Sechrist:

We’ve originated more than 5,000 of these types of transactions. Whether you’re a cannabis company building a facility or somebody else building a facility, that’s an issue that we have to de-risk or look at. The way that we start is we first start with a feasibility review of the budget to make sure that, that budget is sufficient, regardless of who the contractor is. If we had to replace the contractor, that there’s sufficient capital, and it’s also reviewed to make sure the water’s there, the permits are in place, the electricity has ample to supply that for what we’re building, etc. We take that budget and we run it through our data to make sure that it’s sufficient, no matter who we use for the budget, that there’s enough capital. Then we build a contingency as well, just in case there are some overruns.

We start with that aspect and then as we are going through that project, actually the borrower has to advance the money first. Then we go and verify that the invoices have been paid. We get proof of payment. We get lien releases from the contractors to make sure that they can’t lien the project. Once all that’s been reviewed and completed, then we do a physical inspection to verify that those went into our property and you get a percentage of completion. So we’ve de-risked that and we’re prepared to fund that project and complete that project, whether it’s with our borrower, that contractor, or if we take it ourselves. So that’s on the property side. As far as the tenant or operator side, we also analyze to make sure that we’ve got a path through to replace that tenant ourselves, if necessary, if the borrower failed and if the tenant failed.

We have the ability to complete the building and we have the ability to replace the tenant. As far as our portfolio, we haven’t seen a situation where the tenant has not been able to be replaced. We don’t have any transactions that we’ve had to replace the tenant yet. We do have one of our borrowers that replaced another facility next door, not ours, but they did it in 90 days. We use that as a case study to make sure that what we’re thinking is as possible and what the timelines are. And once these facilities are built out, they have the power, the water, the infrastructure, the general configuration, isn’t going to change that much. Most of our facilities start with indoor cultivation, and then they might have some processing or some extraction, and some other things in there.

Once you’ve got kind of that layout, different operators reconfigure within those rooms, but the general gist of it, it’s going to be the same. Commercial properties are a lot easier to reposition walls and things than in residential houses where everything’s load-bearing. So it’s a different situation.

GMR:

Absolutely. So what are the plans for Pelorus for the rest of the year? Are you guys going to continue to raise money? I would assume keep lending.

Sechrist:

We’re scaling the company. We continue to add to our team. We just opened a New York office to get a presence on the East Coast. Our goal is to get to a billion dollars assets under management. Our investments in the company, from our team and our people that we work with are positioned on that on growth and to maintaining our position as the number one value add lender and the first and the most experienced in the sector.

GMR:

Well, there will certainly be a lot of activity happening in the Northeast, now that all the legalization is happening in New Jersey, in New York. Rob, thank you so much for taking time out of your very busy day to talk to Green Market Report.

Sechrist:                                       Thank you so much.

 


Kaitlin DomangueJuly 29, 2021
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9min15360

Smoking cigarettes indoors has been shown to reduce a home’s resale value by up to 29%, says Realtor.com. When it comes to buying a cannabis enthusiast’s home, the resale value research is less clear, though 30% of realtors say they have struggled to sell a house where cannabis was grown. A recent study conducted by the National Association of Realtors said 50% of leasing professionals found it wasn’t hard to re-lease a property after tenants smoked cannabis indoors, and the organization “does not have a position on cannabis legalization.”

Legal cannabis raises home value

There’s been a lot of chatter surrounding cannabis and the real estate market. But, what kind of impact do cannabis operations have on property value by simply just existing in the same town or city as your house? According to research by real estate data company, Clever, property values rose by $17,113 more in states where recreational cannabis is legal, compared to states where it’s illegal or just legal at the medicinal level. Not to mention, millions of dollars in tax revenue created. In 2021, average home values increase by $470 for every $1 million increase in overall tax revenue from cannabis. 

Clever combined data from Zillow, the U.S. Census, and other resources to produce their report. 

New businesses, tourism, and jobs all contribute to the increase

When it comes to answering the “why”, that’s a little more complex. According to Clever, there’s a variety of reasons why property values are increasing as cannabis legalization takes place. “Numerous factors determine home values, including the home’s features and condition, the area’s amenities, and local crime rates. Legalizing marijuana can impact each of these criteria in ways that are both predictable and surprising — particularly by creating fresh demand for housing, new businesses, and tourism,” says the report. 

We often look to Colorado as a model representing cannabis’ potential in different states. Legalization brought Colorado a wave of new business, and the crime rate also dropped. Also, hotel revenue rose by $130 million in the first year after Colorado legalized, according to a study conducted by Penn State

Key Findings

  • Home values increased by $6,338 from 2017 to 2019 in states where cannabis is legal in some form, compared to states that haven’t legalized at all
  • On average, home values increase by $470 for every $1 million increase in tax revenue
    • Eight states reported a full year of tax revenue generated from cannabis sales in 2020, totaling $2.3. $1 billion of that being California sales alone. 
    • The seven states (plus D.C.) who haven’t yet sold a year’s worth of legal cannabis are predicted to collect $601 million in new annual tax revenue.
  • Home values are predicted to increase by an average of $61,343 in states that have legalized recreational cannabis, but sales aren’t yet taking place.  
    • California has seen the biggest increase in home values, up by $128,341 since 2017, among states that have legalized at the recreational level
  • Cities with more dispensaries are positively correlated with higher home values, suggesting legalization boosts jobs and economic growth.
    • In cities with recreational dispensaries, home values increased by $22,090, compared to states where recreational cannabis is legal but not yet being sold in retail locations
    • Property values increase by $519 with each new dispensary a city adds

According to Clever’s future predictions, home values will increase by more than $60,000 on average.

Looking at tax revenue

When it comes to tax revenue, where does it all go? Different states allocate their tax revenue towards different things, but according to a report by Urban Institute, education programs (including community colleges and pre-K schools) are the most likely to benefit. 

Oregon, for example, donates 40% of its tax revenue to the state’s school fund, accumulating $180,252,103 between 2017 and 2021. Arizona recently legalized cannabis for recreational consumption, and they plan to follow suit by donating 33% of their tax revenue to the state’s community colleges. 

Other states use their tax revenue for different things, like Washington, where the tax revenue goes towards a healthcare trust account to provide basic healthcare services to people without insurance. Ranked from most to least common, here’s how different states use their cannabis tax revenue: 

  • Education programs
  • Substance abuse education and treatment programs
  • Reparations for those negatively affected by the War on Drugs/criminal justice reform
  • General funds
  • Transfers to local governments
  • Administrative costs of initiating new laws
  • Public health and safety programs
  • Law enforcement, crime reduction, and fire departments
  • Transportation and infrastructure
  • Programs for conservation
  • Programs for veterans

Cannabis’ impact on local communities

This is just another piece of evidence supporting cannabis’ positive impact on local and state economies. According to Leafly, the legal cannabis industry supports 321,000 full-time jobs across the United States, adding 77,300 of those last year. Not to mention the tax revenue generated from legal cannabis sales. Criminal justice reform, education, substance abuse treatment, and local governments all benefit from the new source of revenue. 

As the cannabis industry continues to grow, we see it positively affects more than just consumers. 


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