By Collin Gallant on March 5, 2021.
Aurora Cannabis is looking for proposals to sell, rent, or partner with the partially completed $ 200 million greenhouse and processing facility in northwest Medicine Hat. – News photo Collin Gallant
Aurora Cannabis is accepting offers for part or all of the partially complete Aurora Sun Complex in Medicine Hat.
Licensing of the massive greenhouse to the northwest of the city was suspended last year as the company withheld its investments, scaled back its production plans and closed its smaller greenhouses.
This winter, she announced that her huge acreage in Leduc would only be utilized to 25 percent, as supply and demand were balanced in the young marijuana market.
This week, a listing on the global commercial real estate company Colliers is promoting the company’s readiness to discuss plans for the 1.7 million square foot acreage, support and storage buildings with potential buyers, tenants or partners.
Company employees told the news that Aurora is adopting a strategic plan to strengthen the company and that the sales process is in its early stages.
“Aurora is continually and carefully reviewing the company’s operating network to ensure it is fit for our business today and in the near future,” said Vice President Michelle Lefler in a statement sent via email.
“We are actively marketing the system for alternative use.”
The listing describes the building on 72 acres in Box Springs Business Park as the “Solar Fields Complex”.
“(Aurora) is open to a wide range of potential transaction structures,” it says.
It describes building specifications, trading areas, and Medicine Hat’s claim of 330 days of sunshine. A buyer has “the potential for significant environmental and social impacts” in order to promote the diversification of a region “which is heavily dependent on the project”.
The construction budget for the facility is currently US $ 220 million.
A statement from the City of Medicine Hat’s economic development division said the city has no position on private sector transactions.
Elected officials said last year when production ceased they were hoping the hiatus would be temporary, and more recently Mayor Ted Clugston defended the company’s original contract to provide $ 6 million in reserve funds for the waiver Use development taxes.
The building has increased the tax base and is too valuable to not be used for a specific purpose, he said during the city state’s address in January.
Possible uses listed in the new sales brochure include agricultural cultivation and processing, storage, research, manufacture or storage.
The region is considered central to renewable energy development and close to major markets in western North America.
Data processing is also suggested as a potential use in the building, which was built to receive 54 megawatts of electricity from the city network.
Potential cooperation area could include 37 bays, which can be separated in the original plans for 1.4 million square meters of cultivation area.
A connected 250,000 square meter building dedicated to support and initial processing.
The deal to bring Aurora to town in 2018, before the recreational cannabis market opened later that year, was heralded as a huge hit as jobs and power sales went to Medicine Hat.
At the time, plans were made to build an 800,000 square foot greenhouse to serve the medical cannabis markets and employ more than 400 full-time workers.
However, cannabis companies struggled to make a profit in the sector whose value was booming in the run-up to legalization in Canada.
Last year Aurora announced that it would reduce production in its only operating “Sky Class” greenhouse to around 25,000 kilograms per year.
The stated production capacity at Aurora Sun should be 260,000 kg per year.
In another step to rebalance its finances and expansion plans last year, Aurora sold a huge greenhouse in Exeter, Ontario instead of spending money on retrofitting the former vegetable greenhouse to grow highly regulated cannabis.
In a merger with competitor MedReleaf, the company acquired the 1,000,000-square-foot facility and adjoining land for a total of 164 acres for future development, but sold it for just $ 8.6 million, compared to a price of $ 26 million -Dollar.