A large 110,000 sq ft greenhouse building in Mantua Twp, NJ which was slated to become an indoor cannabis grow facility, now has a “Land For Sale” sign in front.
Constructing equipment is also on site, currently working to bring down a portion of the heavily damaged structure.
The planned cannabis farm that owner Acreage Holdings had for the property seems to of changed overnight a year ago, when a tornado moved through Mantua, Mullica Hill, Wenonah and Deptford.
The more frail greenhouse structure did not fair well against the 150 mph winds of the tornado.
42Freeway noticed the For-Sale sign this week at the property as well as the (de)construction crew working on site, but at the time of this article’s publication I had not heard back from my inquiries to several entities involved in the project.
An official statement from Acreage Holdings on their change of plans for the project could also not be located.
I somewhat expected to find something at the Mantua Twp website announcing the change of plans, considering the town initially denied the request to use the facility to grow cannabis, and also defended the decision in a lawsuit filed by Acreage Holdings.
What I did find was in the SEC Edgar Filings for Acreage Holdings, listed under “Permitted Dispositions” is the sale of 510 N Mantua Blvd… the greenhouse.
It all adds up to… due to tornado damage at the Mantua Twp NJ greenhouse facility, Acreage Holdings has abandoned their plans for a cannabis grow facility on Mantua Boulevard.
Read on for more details of this project. I also pieced together the timeline of the project, the Zoning denial, the LAWSUIT, and then the unfortunate tornado.
Note: Many of the documents and other coverage of this project refer to the company as High Street Capital Partners. In March of 2018 they announced a formal name change to Acreage Holdings. I’ll stick with that name.
Acreage Holdings – A Rough Road In Mantua
This project has been several years in the making.
Back in 2018 the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on the plans for Acreage Holdings to begin utilizing the greenhouses to grow marijuana, to be then sold at licensed New Jersey dispensaries.
While the greenhouse sits next to the also large Delaware Valley Florist wholesale company, it was originally developed by Matsui Nursery out of San Francisco.
The plan was to grow the orchids as close as possible to the Delaware Valley Florist distribution headquarters, for the freshest possible flowers to consumers. For unknown reasons around 2016, Matsui closed the orchid production in Sewell/Mantua.
Acreage Holdings then took over the facility. They were planning a state-of-the-art operation where computers would control every facet of the cannabis growth cycle.
According to a NJ.com article, in 2019 they applied for a zoning permit to operate the cannabis growing facility, and they were denied. This would require a Zoning Board review and approval.
42Freeway reported back on September 15th, 2020 that Acreage Holdings was presenting that same night their plans to convert the large greenhouse into a medical marijuana grow facility.
The meeting was then postponed. It was expected to take place in November 2020, and that was cancelled also.
Residents on town Facebook groups had been rallying to attend the meetings and express their opinions on the project… but it seemed no one knew what the postponements were about.
Back to that same 2021 NJ.com article I mentioned previously, it seems while Acreage Holdings was publicly moving through the Zoning approval process, behind the scenes they had also sued Mantua Township over the usage denial.
A state Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the cannabis company, based on the fact that Mantua waited several months after construction had started to deny the permit. Acreage Holdings was already working on the site at the time of that denial!
So it seems that as of March 2021 the company was finally ready to fully start retrofitting the property into a Cannabis grow facility.
But Mother Nature still had something to say just 6 months later.
New Jersey Tornado Sept 1st, 2021
As many families were enjoying their dinner, at 6:10pm on September 1st, 2021… the tornado first touched down at Harrisonville with an EF-0 strength at 60mph (according to Fox Weather)
It moved Northeast into Cedar Grove, and reached EF-1… more damaging winds, which uprooted trees.
The storm traveled Northeast, moving through neighborhoods such as Willow Oaks and along the Bridgeton Pike area.
Salvatore Drive in Mullica Hill is where the worst damage was experienced. Multiple homes were completely destroyed. Many others suffered significant damage.
Thankfully, no one was killed.
A large dairy farm next felt that wrath of the tornado, which destroyed barns and grain silos.
In the area of Breakneck Road the winds caused complete deforestation with nearly 100 percent of the trees snapped.
The tornado then made its way through the Mantua greenhouses… and it was still not done!
Heading through a portion of Wenonah, and Woodbury Heights it snapped trees and did some home damage before ending in Deptford.
It was actually moving towards the Deptford Mall when it finally dissipated! 12 miles!
The Sign, the Demo Trucks, and Edgar
As mentioned, the For-Sale sign appeared at the property very recently. Shiny and new.
From the photo I have you can also see the greenhouses in the back, heavily listing to the side.
It doesn’t say much, but two key things:
- Land For Sale : It lists the property description as “Land” not greenhouses.
- 12.82 Acres: A very specific lot size to put on a property sale sign. It’s the exact size of the lot from tax documents, and project documents previously submitted to the town.
The property is listed by Savillis Commercial Real Estate. While they have a nice marketing website for the company, I could not located any place where they show area listings… and could not find it on any industry listing sites such as Loopnet.
Currently there is one heavy equipment truck at the site.
They are working first on the one corner of the greenhouse that was most damaged by the tornado.
In this area the metal structure was fully down to the ground. It seems for the rest of the green house many covering panes were damaged and the structure shifted.
It is my belief the entire structure is coming down, but not 100% certain
EDGAR is an automated system for companies to submit regular filings to the Securities and Exchange commission.
The filings are in a plain text format (or plain HTML) and stored in a database for easy searching.
In the December 16, 2021 Form 8-k report, under “Permitted Dispositions” there are a list of items which could be deemed significant (for the benefit of investors),
And in that list is “the sale of 510 N. Mantua, Boulevard, Sewell, New Jersey 08080” as a permitted disposition.
Links and Locations
Acreage Holdings Greenhouse
510 N. Mantua, Boulevard
Sewell, New Jersey 08080