Lindsay City Council makes dispensary “Elevate” their timeline

(Rigo Moran)

After the opening of the dispensary Elevate was delayed multiple times, Lindsay City Council gives the owners a six-month deadline to start operations downtown

LINDSAY – City council put pressure on Elevate owners to open their doors after years of waiting for the dispensary to open.

The city council discussed the deadline for the new dispensary under construction in downtown Lindsay on Tuesday, July 11. The opening of the new dispensary Elevate has been in the works for a couple of years. The council declared that Elevate is supposed to finish phase one of construction and start operations in the next six months.

“If you give them one year, it’s going to be two years,” Mayor Pro Tem Yolanda Flores said. “There have been new constructions done within eight months, and this is two years (of work) now.”

Elevate has been in the works for a couple of years now, and the council is eager to push the project to completion. Sometime before this meeting, council agreed to break the construction up into two phases. Phase one will include the reconstruction of the first floor and any necessary changes to start operation. Phase two will be completed after Elevate has already opened and will include the construction of the second floor, changes to the foundation and the installation of the elevator.

Courtney Caron, co-owner of Elevate Lindsay, told council it would take another eight months to finish the first phase of construction and 12 months for the second phase. This would have meant Elevate would complete the first phase in March 2024, and the second in March 2025.

This is a change of tune from the initial timeline reported by The Sun-Gazette in May 2022, when she explained if all millwork and products were in on time, the dispensary should only take about four months to complete.

“New construction would have been easier than buying this ancient building that had more problems than we could possibly imagine,” Caron said. “We have opened projects and many other cannabis companies around the state that have taken less time. So we agree this is a lengthy period of time.”

Caron continued to say that they lost three months of work to rain and that it was difficult to find an engineering team that would come out and inspect the building for a dispensary in the Valley. When asked about this, Lindsay’s City Manager Joe Tanner noted in an interview with The Sun-Gazette the building in question was not affected by flooding.

At the meeting, councilmember Rosaena Sanchez pointed out that the owners of Elevate knew the building was old before starting the project because they did a walk-through of the building. She followed up by explaining that she understands there have been setbacks and does appreciate Caron’s efforts to move the construction along quickly.

The council considers the new dispensary part of an ongoing effort to bring Lindsay’s downtown back to life. Tanner explained that the dispensary will increase jobs, bring an older building up to code, increase the general fund as a result of the cannabis tax and add to the overall well-being of downtown Lindsay.

“It will help to give the downtown more energy, more life and more people visiting downtown,” Tanner told The Sun-Gazette.

Overall, council made clear at its July 11 meeting that they are still looking forward to the opening of the dispensary downtown, but they need the construction to move faster. Given that the owners of Elevate were about to receive their new building permit at the time of the meeting, the council determined that the construction of phase one must be finished within six months of the issuance of the new permit. This will allow the dispensary to open sometime around January 2024.

“I’ve been wanting to see this open for a long time – and I think we have waited a long time,” Councilmember Sanchez said. “We’ve been very patient. We do want to see this dispensary open, I think it’s only fair to continue moving forward and doing it in phases.”

According to Tanner, the demolition of the building’s interior was completed before the project was put on hold due to a number of roadblocks that transpired off-and-on with the project over the course of the approximate two years it’s been in the works. This included everything from zoning issues to difficulties financing the escrow of the building, as well as the decline of the cannabis industry delayed the project.

Council also questioned the timeline on how long it would take to have the necessary renovations taken care of. The representatives from Elevate requested a 12-month period for the completion of phase two. Tanner thought 12 months was a reasonable request, but council countered by offering eight months to finish phase two before settling on an overall completion date of Dec. 1, 2024.

With the timeline determined by council, this will give Elevate around 10 months to finish its phase two renovations.

“If phases (is how this) needs to be done, I’m willing to do that. However, I think eight months out is too long,” Sanchez said.

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