A company based in Tempe, AZ and one with principals and advisors who live in Roslindale said tonight they both have agreements to lease or buy buildings on Hyde Park Avenue just south of Metropolitan Avenue for possible medical-marijuana dispensaries.
Only one of the facilities could actually open, under city regulations that require at least a half mile separation between pot facilities.
At a meeting of the Fairmount Hill Neighborhood Association, officials from both the Harvest Group, based in Arizona, and the Boston-based Evergreen Farms, emphasized there's nothing in particular about Hyde Park that drove them to the same basic block - except for another city requirement that dispensaries not be closer than 500 feet to a school or library.
Sean Berte, with Evergreen, said he wanted to open a facility in his native Roslindale, but that the neighborhood's commercial districts are just so full of schools, there was no place to put a dispensary.
"Sean and I literally turned over every rock in District 5," Kris Krane, a company advisor who also lives in Roslindale, said, referring to the city-council district shared by Hyde Park and much of Roslindale.
Both companies would use a building with a connection to the Serino's Italian-food company, which will be closing up shop soon.
Harvest, which would operate here as Suns Mass., Inc., says it would lease the current Serino's building at 931 Hyde Park Ave., across from the America's Food Basket mall. With 22,000 square feet of space, and plenty of parking, Harvest would use the building both for a dispensary and a facility to create marijuana products, such as edibles and ointments.
Joseph Kachuroi, the company's real-estate director, said the combined dispensary and processing plant would employ at least 50 and possibly as many as 200 people. The facility would sell products grown on land the company expects to purchase in Deerfield, he said. The company currently operates 17 dispensaries in 7 states, but none in Massachusetts.
Harvest would lease the space from Robert Susi of Dorchester, who expects to close on the property with Paul Serino within 60 days. Susi, who owns commercial buildings across the state, said he did not have the dispensary in mind when he agreed to buy it - a real-estate broker connected him with Harvest.
Evergreen has a purchase-and-sale agreement on the original, and far smaller, Serino's building at 883 Hyde Park Ave., which it would operate just as a dispensary, with about eight to ten employees on site at any one time. A neighbor said she has no problems with a dispensary, but is concerned about where employees and customers would park on the already busy street, since the building has no parking.
Evergreen would source its marijuana products from a facility it recently won approval to build in Bellingham. The company has won local backing to build a dispensary in Hull.
Principals of both companies said they would be willing to discuss a ban on sales of recreational or "adult use" marijuana.
But Krane and Benjamin Smith, Evergreen's CEO, said they don't want to rule out adult-use sales just yet. The two said there are people who are reluctant to get state medical-marijuana cards - for example, veterans who would lose their VA benefits and financial-services employees who might get into trouble with the SEC - and that recreational sales might be the only way for such people to obtain the marijuana that could help them with their pain or other medical problems.
Before either facility could open, it would need to get a "letter of non-opposition" from neighborhood groups and the City Council, approval from the city Public Health Commission and the zoning board and the OK of state regulators.
Sales of recreational marijuana would take similar steps.
The city council recently voted to formally not oppose a dispensary on VFW Parkway in West Roxbury, but only on condition it not agree to gain the right to sell adult-use marijuana.
Roughly 50 Fairmount Hill and Clare Avenue residents attended the meeting. Nobody rose to outright oppose either proposal.
The Faimount Hill association plans a follow-up meeting at which it hopes to invite city officials to discuss the approval process.