FONDA — The dormant former home of Beech-Nut Foods in Canajoharie, will soon take an important step closer to again becoming an economic engine for the region as the result of an exclusive option agreement between Montgomery County and E29 Labs. E29 Labs is a team of experienced commercial cannabis production professionals that are poised to capitalize on the state’s recent legalization of the industry.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the County Legislature’s Economic Development and Planning Committee, the Legislature advanced a funded exclusive development option agreement, which would convert to a purchase-and-sale agreement, pending the completion of a12-month due diligence period by E29 Labs.
The investment, which would encompass 19.6 acres of the 26.9-acre site, has the potential to realize significant private investment by the company, as well as the creation of union manufacturing, office and executive support employment opportunities. Returning the property to private ownership will also help generate critical new revenue streams for Montgomery County, as well as the village and town of Canajoharie.
“Montgomery County is fortunate to have an experienced team of investors who are interested in bringing this manufacturing industry here. The team at E29 Labs is well positioned to be a market leader in New York’s new commercial cannabis growth and processing industry, bringing years of knowledge, best practices, and commercial success to this operation. Redevelopment of the Exit 29 site, with a focus on creating good-paying manufacturing jobs and new tax revenue has been a priority for my administration and we’re excited to take this exciting step forward and continue to work through the next phases in the redevelopment process for this site,” said Montgomery County Executive Matthew L. Ossenfort.
“We are privileged to have an employment base that cuts across sectors and skillsets, and this new investment is another testament to the work we’ve done as a community to show we’re open for business. Commercial cannabis is expected to be a major growth sector for New York’s economy, and we are excited to be taking the first step in a process that could lead to tens of millions of dollars in additional investment, jobs creation and tax revenue. As we do every project in the county, we will be working very closely with the company to advance a meaningful plan that maximizes the jobs and revenue coming into our community,” said Montgomery County Legislature Chairman Michael Pepe.
“E29 Labs’ project has great potential for the community, through both job creation and tax revenue, as well as annual savings to the county. Montgomery County has a long history of manufacturing and maintaining a diverse economy. This investment further helps us create a place where people will choose to stay, work and build a family,” said Legislator Robert Purtell, chair of the Legislature’s Economic Development and Planning Committee.
Under the terms of the agreement with E29 Labs, Montgomery County will receive a non-refundable deposit against a $550,000 purchase price for the land encompassing their portion of the site. E29 Labs would then have exclusive rights for up to 12 months to conduct a due diligence process and review of the property including conducting necessary environmental testing, investigations, and inspections related to the proposed manufacturing facility. The company has committed to conduct additional site prep work and any necessary remediation at its cost and is also negotiating a larger community benefit package as components of the sale as well. Returning the property back to private holding would also result in savings to the county.
E29 Labs’ preliminary vision is to create their new facility within a park-like setting on the site that also adds public open recreation space to the area.
“Redevelopment of the Exit 29 site has been a focus of our office’s work for more than a decade. We have worked hard to remediate this site and make it attractive for investment. No other potential investor has presented the combination of manufacturing jobs, a growing industry and a desire to develop in a way that enhances the local community like E29 Labs. The long-term economic impact of the property will be significant because this investment will grow the local economy and provide a range of job opportunities to add to the County’s long record of successful economic development projects. We look forward to continuing our dialogue the E29 Team as they become a part Canajoharie and the broader community,” said Montgomery County Business Development Center CEO Ken Rose.
Additional information regarding potential tax revenue, employment figures and other details will be announced as the company proceeds with its due diligence and presents its development plans. E29 Labs has presented a tentative project summary that anticipates the manufacturing facility being built in phases, dependent in part upon the timeline for the state’s development of regulations and licensing requirements related to adult-use cannabis.
The project will be constructed in accordance with the village of Canajoharie’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program zoning regulations. E29 Labs would still need to present their redevelopment plans to the village’s planning and zoning boards, prior to construction getting under way.