Waterloo and Cambridge now candidates for cannabis retail shops
Submitted by Marijuana News
The cities of Waterloo and Cambridge are now on the list for possible retail cannabis shops after two applicants opted to move from Kitchener and Guelph.
The new sites, 32 King St. S. in Waterloo and 75 Pinebush Rd. in Cambridge, were posted on the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) website last week.
The applicant in Waterloo, 2208292 Alberta Ltd., had previously applied for a site in downtown Kitchener at 73 King St. W., near Ontario Street. Now it hopes to open inside the space that used to house O.W. Sports, near Waterloo Public Square.
The executive director of the Uptown Waterloo Business Improvement Area said she’s looking forward to the possibility of a cannabis shop opening in the city core. A survey conducted by the BIA last year showed the majority of BIA members have no concerns with one nearby.
“It’s certainly an opportunity to bring new people to uptown who maybe haven’t been here for a while,” said Tracy Van Kalsbeek. “The space is very central, close to the Ion station and across from the square.”
The store at 32 King has remained empty since O.W. Sports closed more than two years ago. The name still hangs over the entrance; a No Trespassing sign is taped up near the door and the front windows are blocked with brown paper.
A note on one of the windows says the space can be developed to accommodate between one and three units ranging from 800 to 5,100 square feet. Jeff Zavitz, a local developer who leases the building, declined to comment.
Van Kalsbeek said it will be nice to get another retail shop in the space if it does eventually open.
“It will bring some new vibrancy to a space that hasn’t been used in a while,” she said.
The location at 73 King St. W. in downtown Kitchener had been on the retail store waiting list following a lottery draw to award 42 locations provincewide in mid-August. The location was then bumped to the main list by the end of the month.
Frank Voisin, the owner of the building at 73 King, said the applicant chose to relocate to Waterloo “despite working closely together for several months.”
He believes “this was a mistake made by non-locals, but (we) wish them all the best in their new location.”
The downtown Kitchener location still has one application, from Lost Art Inc., on the wait list.
Cambridge may also get a cannabis retail shop after Ralph Llacar moved his application from Victoria Road in Guelph to 75 Pinebush Rd., in the Smart Centre plaza just south of Highway 401.
Alcohol and Gaming Commission rules state that retail store operators must open their store at the same address provided on their original expression of interest application, unless there are “extenuating circumstances.” They may also change the location when they move from the wait list to the main list.
These two new locations, combined with an application for 589 Fairway Rd. S., mean Waterloo Region may soon be home to three legal pot shops after being shut out in the first round of retail store applications last year.
The commission is now reviewing each application.
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