A leading medical marijuana retailer is eyeing a former Wells Fargo branch on Winter Haven's Cypress Gardens Boulevard for the city's first dispensary.
Surterra Wellness has signed a non-binding LOI to lease the vacant building for 10 years, and company officials met Thursday morning with Polk County's Development Review Committee to discuss the site.
Surterra Marketing Director Kim Hawkes told GrowthSpotter the site is properly zoned and county staff was "fully supportive" of the proposed use.
"The meeting went really well, and the county staff thoroughly explained the process and procedures we plan to go through to get the conditional use," she said.
The specific location is intended solely for the sale of finished products, according to Vice President Nick Monette. Surterra sells vaping pens and cannabis-based therapeutics in a variety of topical applications, such oils, lotions and patches. The company currently operates 10 dispensaries in Florida, including locations in Tampa and Orlando.
"Anybody can walk into our store," Monette told the Orlando Sentinel last April. "The whole purpose of our store is to make everything feel less like a transaction and more of an education. We're trying to change people's minds about what they think of medical cannabis."
Maitland-based Red Bell Partners bought the Winter Haven property from Wells Fargo in June for $780,000. The 2,842-square-foot building was built in 1975 and sits on a 1.1-acre outparcel near the intersection of Cypress Gardens Boulevard and Sixth Street, and has cross access to a signalized entrance to the Publix-anchored Southeast Place shopping center.
Red Bell principal Nick Jones said the firm bought the asset as second generation retail or as a possible tear-down. The size of the lot and positioning would be well-suited for a QSR with drive-thru. BluRock Commercial is marketing the property.
"We see Winter Haven as being the high-growth market in Polk right now," Jones said.
The site is directly across from a SunTrust bank that was razed for an infill redevelopment with 14,100 square feet of inline retail book-ended by a new, smaller bank branch and First Watch.
Cannabis retailer Curaleaf is scheduled to open Polk County's first retail dispensary in Lakeland, and GrowHealthy operates a 200,000-square-foot hydroponic nursery in Lake Wales.