Marijuana business park to be built in Orion Twp.

Candice Williams
The Detroit News
A rendering of the Oakland Business Park to be built in Orion Township. The 288,000-square-foot complex will feature marijuana growers, processors, transporters and safety compliance tenants, developers say.

Groundbreaking is expected Tuesday for a $40 million marijuana business park that developers say will be the first of its kind in Oakland County.

The Oakland Business Park on Premier Drive will feature marijuana growers, processors, secure transporters and safety compliance tenants, developers say. The Orion Township Board of Trustees in late 2017 approved an ordinance allowing such businesses.

The 288,000-square-foot complex will consist of three buildings. The first of the buildings is expected to be open by the end of the year. Leases have already been signed for about 75 percent of the space, said Ryan Jundt, a partner and vice president of sales for the Oakland Business Park.

Jundt, a developer, said he and his business partners wanted to provide a safe and secure environment for those interested in running a commercial cannabis operation. They began investing in property after the passage of the Michigan Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act in 2016.

"There's a huge market for growers, processors, transporters and safety and testing compliance businesses under the MMFLA for them to be able to find a home that is not complicated for them to get into," Jundt said. "We said Orion (Township) has opted in and we want to work with them to provide a place that those four license types can have a home to lease space.

"We're going to assemble a team based on everything we've learned so far and bring in experts to where we can really offer the whole package. We can lease you a space. We can work with you to get your license approved in Orion (and) most importantly provide a safe working environment with 24-hour security."

The business park will not house dispensaries, which are not allowed under Orion Township's unanimously approved medical marijuana ordinance.

In November 2017, developers in Windsor Township announced the 130-acre Harvest Park Development focused on medical marijuana cultivation, processing, testing and secure transport. Windsor Township sits in Eaton County, west of Lansing. The first building on the site is near completion, a spokeswoman said. 

Orion Township Trustee Mike Flood said he is in favor of the business park because it falls within the ordinance's guidelines.

"We're being proactive," he said. "We wanted to make sure it was in an industrial park. As part of our ordinance, we wanted to make sure it was so far away from residential property and churches and schools." 

Flood said he considers a business park a safe, legal alternative for growers.

"We're finding that some people don't follow the proper rules and we've had a couple buildings on fire because the building department is not aware of them ... We can manage that through our ordinance and through our building department."

Flood also said the business park will bring in additional revenue for the township through permit fees and taxes.

Township Supervisor Chris Barnett said he considers the business park as operating as a pharmaceutical company. He notes that the businesses will have no signage. 

"This is a win for the township," Barnett said. "This is a $40 million piece of property that has had challenges. It's going to be creating jobs and opportunity for people in our community,” he said.

"If these businesses are investing in our community don’t operate the way they conveyed they would, we have the local hammer to take away their local license," Barnett said.

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN