Franklin Labs LLC, which recently was awarded a state license to grow medical marijuana, bought the former Pepsi distribution warehouse in Reading for $1.6 million.
Settlement on the 46,800-square-foot building at 1800 Centre Ave. was on July 19, a month after Franklin Labs was notified by the state Department of Health it was one of two companies to receive a marijuana growing license in Berks County, said Kyle McKechnie, a listing agent for the property for NAI Keystone Commercial & Industrial in Wyomissing.
Prime Wellness was awarded the other medical marijuana growers license in Berks. The Scranton-based company plans to operate at South Heidelberg Industrial Park in Sinking Spring.
Franklin Labs, headquartered in Philadelphia, will have to modify the warehouse to comply with state regulations for a growing facility, which includes adding security features.
“There’s going to be quite a bit of investment to set it up appropriately for their needs,” said John Buccinno, one of the listing agents for NAI Keystone.
Built in 1929, the modular building was enlarged with additions in the 1980s and 1990s. The large, open warehouse sits on 2.7 acres in an area secured by a fence.
It has five large, drive-in doors and two docks, with about 2,000 square feet of office space. The area is zoned heavy manufacturing.
PepsiCo initially used the warehouse as a bottling facility and later used it for distribution until the plant closed last November.
Franklin Labs is licensed to operate in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Colorado. It operates the nonprofit Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge Township, N.J.
Pennsylvania awarded 12 medical marijuana growers licenses.
Standard Farms, headquartered in Center Valley, Lehigh County, was awarded a license to operate in White Haven, Luzerne County.