REIT Archives - Green Market Report

StaffAugust 12, 2022
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3min4660

There is a new cannabis Real Estate Investment Trust or REIT in the market. MJ REIT was recently formed as a partnership between Rainbow Realty Group and Arcview Capital. Rainbow Realty Group will serve as sub-manager to MJ REIT, responsible for selecting and underwriting investments, while Arcview Capital will serve as the managing broker-dealer, tasked with distributing shares to the investing public and providing sales support.

“With heightened volatility in the public markets and investor concerns around rising rates and inflation, it’s exciting to create a strategy that provides investors an innovative solution to help meet their long-term goals,” said Christopher Reece, CEO of MJ REIT.

Hoya Capital recently wrote on Seeking Alpha that “Cannabis REITs have delivered the strongest dividend growth over the past five years, averaging more than 20% per year. Cannabis REITs pay out roughly 85% of their available FFO, however, higher than the REIT sector average.”  Two of the leading cannabis REITs are Innovative Industrial Properties (NYSE: IIPR) and New Lake Capital Partners (OTC: NLCP).

MJ REIT says it seeks to provide investors with solutions to three major investing challenges:

    • Income: Targeting approximately 10% annual distributions, paid in monthly 1099 Income

    • Diversification: Alternative investments like private commercial real estate can be complementary to a traditional stock & bond portfolio

    • Stability: Private commercial real estate has historically provided attractive risk-adjusted returns.

 

“By partnering with MJ REIT, we’ll help provide the capital needed for companies in this rapidly growing industry. With our multi-generational history of real estate investing, Rainbow employs a conservative underwriting approach and values properties using ‘non-cannabis’ valuations, unlike other cannabis REITs,” said Kyle Shenfeld, President of Rainbow Realty Group.


Adam JacksonAugust 10, 2022
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5min1370

Cannabis REIT NewLake Capital Partners, Inc. (OCTQX: NLCP) posted positive results on Wednesday as it continues to inject capital into the cannabis real estate landscape. The real estate trust released results for the second quarter ending June 30, 2022.

NewLake met expectations as it delivered total revenues of approximately $10.5 million during the period, a 59% gain from $6.7 million for the same quarter last year — eking out past Yahoo Finance Average analyst estimate for revenues of $10.2 million.

“We continue to be pleased with our AFFO growth, which has allowed us to increase our dividend for the fifth consecutive quarter,” newly-minted CEO Anthony Coniglio said. “While our pipeline is as robust as we have seen in our company history, we remain disciplined in our underwriting approach and focus on quality over quantity.”

NewLake posted net income of $3.8 million for the quarter at $0.18 per diluted share, versus $2.7 million in the previous year’s second quarter. The company also posted an AFFO of $8.7 million, or $0.41 cents a share, versus $4.8 million in the same quarter last year.

The company said that net income and FFO were impacted by one-time severance costs of $1.6 million in connection with certain executive separation agreements. Such agreements were contemplated as part of the succession plan at the time of the company merger in March last year, it said.

NewLake posted a FFO of $6.5 million or $0.31 per basic and $0.30 per diluted share. The company said it had cash and cash equivalents of $49.6 million. Around $12.2 million was committed to funding tenant improvements.

The company also paid a quarterly dividend of $0.35 per common share on July 15 to stockholders — versus two cents per common share in the prior quarter — equal to an annualized dividend of $1.40 per share.

Rental income for the second quarter increased by $2.9 million from the prior year to total $9.6 million. The increase in rental revenue was due to the acquisition of several properties — around 23 — over the past two years, in addition to $20,000 from raising rent.

In April, NewLake said it signed a $34 million aggregate three-part commitment for a cultivation property in Missouri consisting of $7.3 million to purchase a 40,000 square foot cultivation facility, a commitment to fund additional $5.2 million to finish construction, $16.5 million to expand the facility by purchasing an adjacent parcel of land and fund construction and an interest-only four-year $5 million loan that can be drawn over the next year.

Once fully built, the combined property will be a state-of-the-art 105,000 square foot cultivation facility.

NewLake also entered into a revolving credit facility in May with a $30.0 million initial commitment, which was expanded to $90.0 million in July, maturing in May, 2027 with a fixed interest rate of 5.65% for the first three years and a floating rate thereafter.

“Subsequent to the quarter, we successfully increased our credit facility from $30 million to $90 million, which will allow us to continue investing in high quality assets,” said Coniglio. “We believe our ability to consistently evaluate high quality transactions with the best operators in the space and have access to capital from banking partners that believe in our ability to execute is a testament to our team, model and disciplined approach.”

Last month, NewLake said it had acquired two properties from a leading publicly-traded U.S. multi-state cannabis operator (MSO) for $28 million and amended its existing lease with another leading publicly-traded U.S. MSO to fund an already completed expansion.

The two properties NewLake acquired include an approximately 38,000 square-foot operational cultivation facility in Pennsylvania for $14.5 million and an approximately 56,500 square-foot operational cultivation facility in Nevada, a new market for NewLake, for $13.6 million.

NewLake’s stock was trading at $17.48 in pre-trading Thursday morning, a slight uptick from $16.75 in the previous day.


StaffJuly 8, 2022
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3min3000

Cannabis REIT NewLake Capital Partners, Inc. (OTCQX: NLCP) reported $50 million of investments across three properties, marking the full commitment of capital raised during the company’s initial public offering (IPO). NewLake acquired two properties from a leading publicly-traded U.S. multi-state cannabis operator (MSO) and amended its existing lease with another leading publicly-traded U.S. MSO to fund an already completed expansion. As of June 30, 2022, NewLake has approximately $28.7 million of unfunded commitments.

The two properties NewLake acquired include an approximately 38,000 square-foot operational cultivation facility in Pennsylvania for $14.5 million and an approximately 56,500 square-foot operational cultivation facility in Nevada, a new market for NewLake, for $13.6 million. NewLake is also providing an additional $750,000 for tenant improvements at the Pennsylvania property. NewLake’s $21.0 million investment in an existing operational cultivation facility funded an approximately 50,000 square foot expansion as well as other capital improvements at the site.

“We are excited to announce these transactions, where 98% of our capital commitment was funded at closing. Through these transactions, we have added a new publicly-traded MSO Tenant partner, a new market to NewLake’s portfolio, and taken advantage of built-in growth in our portfolio,” said David Weinstein, NewLake’s Chief Executive Officer. “With capital available from our credit facility, we continue to have runway to invest in the U.S. cannabis industry.”

First Quarter Earnings

In May, the company reported total revenue in the first quarter of 2022 as $10.2 million. Rental Income increased by approximately $4.8 million, to approximately $9.2 million, compared to approximately $4.4 million.

The company said the increase in Rental Income was primarily attributable to:

  • The nineteen properties acquired in March 2021 in connection with the merger generated an increase of approximately $2.7 million of Rental Income during the three months ended March 31, 2022.
  • The four properties acquired after the first quarter of 2021 generated approximately $2.0 million of Rental Income during the three months ended March 31, 2022.
  • Rental Income from the pre-merger portfolio properties generated an increase of approximately $0.1 million of rental income during the three months ended March 31, 2022.

StaffMay 5, 2022
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2min1440

After the market closed on Wednesday, Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc. (IIP) (NYSE: IIPR) announced results for the first quarter ending March 31, 2022. The cannabis REIT delivered total revenues of approximately $64.5 million in the quarter, representing a 50% increase from the prior year’s quarter. However, it missed the Yahoo Finance Average analyst estimate for revenues of $67 million.

IIP said that the increase was driven primarily by the acquisition and leasing of new properties, additional improvement allowances, and construction funding at existing properties resulting in adjustments to base rent, and contractual rental escalations at certain properties.

IIP recorded net income attributable to common stockholders and net income attributable to common stockholders per diluted share of approximately $34.7 million and $1.32, respectively. This also missed the average analyst estimate for earnings of $1.41.

The funds from operations (FFO) (diluted) and FFO per diluted share of approximately $48.9 million and $1.86, respectively; normalized FFO, which adds back to FFO acquisition-related expense and the loss on exchange of a portion of the Exchangeable Senior Notes during the three months ended March 31, 2022 (Normalized FFO).

Plus a Normalized FFO per diluted share of approximately $49.1 million and $1.87, respectively; and AFFO and AFFO per diluted share of approximately $53.8 million and $2.04, respectively. For the three months ended March 31, 2022, FFO (diluted), Normalized FFO, AFFO and FFO, Normalized FFO and AFFO per diluted share include the dilutive impact of the assumed full exchange of the Exchangeable Senior Notes for shares of common stock.

 


Debra BorchardtFebruary 7, 2022
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3min920

Last week Innovative Industrial Properties, Inc.  (NYSE: IIPR) announced that its operating partnership, IIP Operating Partnership, LP had launched a $300 million offering, but on Friday after the market closed, the company quietly pulled it. The company’s filing stated that it “determined not to proceed with its proposed public offering of $300 million of senior notes due 2027 previously announced on February 1, 2022, due to market conditions.” IIP stock has tumbled from approximately $286 in November 2021 to lately sell at $193.

The cannabis REIT (real estate investment trust) had originally planned to use the net proceeds from the offering to invest in specialized industrial real estate assets used in the regulated cannabis industry that are consistent with its investment strategy, and for general corporate purposes. The notes were to include a 3.75% Exchangeable Senior Notes due 2024 and 5.50% Senior Notes due 2026. As of September 2021, the company had $127 million in cash and cash equivalents.

IIP Portfolio

At the beginning of January, IIP reported that it owned 103 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 7.7 million rentable square feet (including approximately 2.5 million rentable square feet under development / redevelopment). As of January 5, 2022, IIP had invested approximately $1.7 billion across its portfolio (consisting of purchase price and construction funding and improvements reimbursed to tenants, but excluding transaction costs) and had committed an additional approximately $316.1 million to reimburse certain tenants and sellers for completion of construction and improvements at IIP’s properties. The company said that these statistics did not include an $18.5 million loan from IIP to a developer for construction of a regulated cannabis cultivation and processing facility in California and up to $55.0 million that may be funded between June 15, 2022 and July 31, 2022 pursuant to IIP’s lease with a tenant at one of IIP’s Pennsylvania properties, as the tenant at that property may not elect to have IIP disburse those funds and pay IIP the corresponding base rent on those funds.

Ina short span of time, (from October 1, 2021 through January 5, 2022), IIP made 29 acquisitions (including 28 new properties and the acquisition of certain facilities at an existing property) for properties located in California, Colorado, Michigan, North Dakota and Pennsylvania, and executed one lease amendment to provide an additional improvement allowance at a property located in Massachusetts. In these transactions, IIP established new tenant relationships with Gold Flora, LLC, Medicine Man Technologies, Inc. (Schwazze), and Southwest Alternative Care, LLC (Kaya Cannabis), while expanding existing relationships with Columbia Care Inc., Curaleaf Holdings, Inc., LivWell Holdings, Inc. and Temescal Wellness of Massachusetts, LLC.


StaffFebruary 2, 2022
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9min1110

Private company Pelorus Equity Group has updated the business world with its operational results. The company is known for providing bridge commercial real estate loans for cannabis businesses and owners with cannabis-related real estate. The company’s privately-held mortgage real estate investment trust, the Pelorus Fund, ended the year with $243 million assets under management and $193 million of equity. This amounted to a 434% growth year-over-year in 2021.

“As cannabis operators and landlords with commercial real estate continued to enter the sector,  we saw the need for funding to support build-outs, expansions and upgrades spike in 2021,” said  Dan Leimel, CEO of Pelorus Equity Group and Manager of the Pelorus Fund. “In 2022, we expect to see a sustained need for commercial real estate funding to continue. With our ability to structure asset-based lending solutions for complex transactions, we provide our clients innovative loan programs that enable them to scale their operations, and cross numerous thresholds that most thought were unattainable. In the coming year, we plan to aggressively scale our assets under management while bringing more novel deal structures and lending solutions to some of the largest and fastest-growing cannabis companies.”
Pelorus and Pelorus Fund listed the following 2021 highlights in a statement:
  • Upsized Pelorus Fund’s offering to $1B from its previous $250M offering.

  • Pelorus Fund outperformed its original 2021 growth projections of 300% by 134%.

  • Pelorus saw 434% year-over-year growth, ending the year with $243 million AUM and $193 million of equity – more equity than any other privately held or publicly traded commercial real estate lender in the cannabis space.

  • First in the cannabis industry to secure up to a $20M line of credit with an FDIC–insured bank at 4.75% and no non-usage fees.

  • First to close a bond offering of $42,250,000 aggregate principal amount of its 7% Senior Unsecured Notes in the cannabis sector.

  • Pelorus Fund, along with its Notes, became the first privately held mREIT to receive an Investment Grade BBB+ rating from the Egan-Jones Ratings Company.

  • Pelorus Fund entered into a letter of intent (“LOI”) to complete StateHouse Holdings’ real estate financing of US$77.3M of non-dilutive real estate debt financing.

  • Entered into a $19 million construction financing loan with Item 9 Labs Corp., a vertically integrated cannabis dispensary franchisor and operator that produces premium, award-winning products.

  • Since 2016, Pelorus has originated 59 commercial real estate loan transactions and deployed $244 to cannabis-use real estate owners, comprising nearly 2 million sq. ft. in eight states across the U.S.


StaffNovember 30, 2021
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4min861

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.”


StaffAugust 20, 2021
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3min1230

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

22min800

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.

 


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The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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