Saline Approves Land Sale for Lume Cannabis Co., Another Dispensary Planned for West End

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The City of Saline has a new buyer for Lot 20A - the city's last piece of property along East Michigan Avenue.

At Monday's meeting, Saline City Council voted 5-0 (Councillors Jack Ceo and Kevin Camero-Sulak participated remotely and could not vote) to sell the 6.5-acre to Visio Clara LLC, which plans to build a new retail cannabis store for Lume, a Michigan company which recently opened its 33rd outlet.

Visio Clara LLC will pay the city $1 million for the property - nearly $200,000 more than the last company agreed to pay the city. The real estate purchase and development agreement stipulates the city has the right to repurchase the property if the development has begun within 12 months of the closing date or the certificate of occupancy has not been issued within two years.

Visio Clara's first priority is to build the cannabis store along Michigan Avenue. The company doesn't have specific plans for the development of the back part of the property but has pledged to work with a real estate broker to sell or develop the property. If the back part of the parcel isn't sold or leased five years after the closing date, the city can purchase the property

Rebecca Spindler, a district manager for Lume, told council that the company was "pure Michigan" that provides "great jobs" for Michigan residents. She said the company just crossed the 1,000-employee mark.

"We take a lot of pride in being deeply involved in our communities," Spindler told council. She said company employees volunteer at local animal shelters and participate in cleaning highways and other community activities.

Lume Cannabis Co. bills itself as a high-end dispensary. Some members of Saline City Council toured a nearby outlet and came away impressed.

Council's Reaction

Councillor Jim Dell'Orco was impressed by the way the company treats its employees.

"They offer full-time employment at an actual living wage with medical benefits," Dell'Orco said.

Councillor Dawn Krause said she was very impressed with Lume's operations.

"I'm excited to see what they can bring the city as far as jobs," Krause said, adding that she definitely wanted to see the company prioritize developing the back portion of the lot.

Krause and Councillors Dean Girbach and Jack Ceo served on a committee with City Manager Colleen O'Toole to negotiate the sale of the property.

Mayor Brian Marl said he'd heard nothing but good things about Lume and said he was hopeful for an expedited development process and eager to see more development on the back end of the property.

No Health Care Service

The city will be happy if the sale results in $1 million, ongoing tax generation and more employees in the city, but, as Councillor Janet Dillon pointed out, it isn't the medical facility some hoped might end up in that spot. After the city's deal with GBA Development fell through, the city spoke with IHA about buying the land for healthcare services. IHA balked, however.

"There were people holding out hope for healthcare facilities. I don't want the public to think we abandoned the idea," Dillon said.

Councillor Krause, chair of the city's health care task force, said she wanted to see healthcare facilities there too. 

"The timing just was not going to work for this particular parcel," Krause said.

She said the healthcare task force continues to speak with large health care organizations about bringing services to other areas of the city.

"I do foresee more health care services coming to Saline," Krause said.

West Side Cannabis

The city is also considering a marijuana establishment on the city's west side.

AM & BH Industries want to buy Mickey's Dairy Twist and the house next door and open a dispensary. The retail outlet would be located in the building currently used by Mickey's Dairy Twist. The home next door would be demolished and used for a landscaped parking lot. AM & BH Industries are seeking a special land use permit and site plan approval from the city planning commission.

The commission voted to postpone taking action on the requests until the April 27 meeting.

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