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Daily Journal
     September 10, 2021      #33-253 KDJ

Bradley eyed for retail marijuana 

By Lee Provost

BRADLEY — Kankakee County's first retail marijuana outlet likely will operate out of the former Pier 1 Imports store in Bradley.

Area residents hoping for a local marijuana store will have to hold their breath until Monday, when the proposed development is expected to make its way to the full Bradley Village Board.

By a 7-0 vote at Thursday's Bradley Planning & Zoning Commission meeting, the board OK'd a special use permit request by the seven-member ownership group of GRD Illinois LLC, based in Round Lake Beach.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation granted 55 conditional adult-use cannabis dispensary licenses in July. GRD Illinois, aka Green Releaf Dispensary, was granted one for Kankakee County.

Because the planning commission is an advisory board to the village board, the matter will need trustees' approval.

The property is located at 1660 State Route 50.

Adult-use marijuana sales is a big and growing business in Illinois. According to the state's website, adult-use sales were $63.9 million in August 2020. In August 2021, that figure jumped to $121.9 million.

Part owners Nevil Patel, of Columbia, Mo., and Sanjoy Patel, of Lake Villa, Ill., presented the company's plans to the commission. The Patels are not related.

If all goes as they hoped, Nevil Patel said the location could be in operation by early 2022. He based that projection on an estimated six-month build-out of the location.

Similar to alcohol, a purchaser must be 21 years of age. The pair noted marijuana products would be sold in many forms, ranging from products that can be smoked, eaten or rubbed onto the body.

They noted products sold in Bradley would be grown in Illinois.

He said the company will be entering into a long-term lease with property owner Dr. Theodore Pantos, of Grosse Pointe, Mich. Nevil Patel said an estimated $300,000 to $500,000 would be invested to develop a 4,000-square-feet section on the building's south side.

"We do look forward to having a fantastic facility here," he said. "We are going to educate our customers as much as we can."

The investors operate eight retail marijuana stores in Missouri. They also are seeking to establish another site in northeastern Illinois, specifically in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin region.

The 8,980-square-foot building located to the west of the Northfield Square mall and along Illinois 50, has been vacant since Pier 1 closed within the first weeks of 2020 after some 20 years in business there.

Nevil Patel said the group looked at several locations within Kankakee County before targeting the Pier 1 site.

He said the group was pleased with the property's location to other retail and the fact it is centrally located.

He acknowledged there are many social taboos when it comes to marijuana use, and the group will work to dispel as many of those as it can.

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