Niles city council moves toward selling land to proposed medical marijuana grower

NILES — A proposed medical marijuana grower is poised to locate in town now that the city council has taken a step toward selling it the city-owned land it wants.

“This facility will happen now,” Mike Heskett, of Niles, a partner in HDS Investments, said. “We’ve been waiting for this.”

A proposal HDS made to the city this spring to build a million-dollar facility had been in limbo pending the council’s decision on sale of the vacant property at Lake and 13th streets.

Then the investment group ran up against a moratorium on new medical marijuana business licenses the city imposed in May, which could last until after the November election.

But on Monday, the council voted to pursue selling HDS the land it wants for $30,000, contingent on the company’s acquiring the licenses it needs and building the facility it proposed.

If the sale is approved, HDS would still need to wait until the moratorium is lifted or expires to acquire a city cannabis license. Late last year, the city approved seven medical marijuana business licenses.

City officials have said that the HDS proposal to build a $1 million facility could generate new property tax revenue of about $7,000. Other proposed medical marijuana businesses plan to locate in existing buildings on which property taxes are already collected.

HDS partners have been in frequent contact with city officials and spoken at many public meetings since April, expressing their desire to do business in the city.

Council member John DiCostanzo made the motion to let the city administrator negotiate sale of the parcel to HDS. He said he’s impressed by the enthusiasm of HDS partners and wanted

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