MEDICAL DISTRICT — A strip club owner and trucking executive plans to open a medical marijuana dispensary soon just south of the Illinois Medical District.
Formerly a Firestone tire store, the dispensary is nearly complete, and Mandera has applied to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation to operate a dispensary at the site, said Hunter Sutterfield, manager of the new dispensary.
"We are working through the final kinks," Sutterfield said. "We anticipate getting a license in the next few weeks."
The dispensary aims to be the "crown jewel of the industry," said Sutterfield, who previously managed Harvest of Tempe, a dispensary in Tempe, Ariz.
"It is absolutely stunning and the safest dispensary that I've every been inside," he said.
The dispensary will be near the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center, the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center and other hospitals.
"We decided being close to the Medical District was really great for our patients," Sutterfield said.
Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), whose ward includes the site, said he doesn't have any objection to the dispensary opening there.
"With all of the hospitals that are in the area and given the nature of [medical marijuana], this is something that made sense," Ervin said.
Perry Mandera (center) listens to Hunter Sutterfield (left) testify at a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting in November. [DNAinfo/Ted Cox]
Previous Fulton Market plans
Before setting sights on the Medical District, Mandera aimed to open a medical marijuana dispensary called Custom Strains in a vacant building at 1105 W. Fulton St. in the West Loop.
Despite initially contending that Mandera's plan needed further review, Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration issued a license for the dispensary in February 2015. The city granted a special-use permit for Mandera to operate the Fulton Market dispensary in November 2014.
But under pressure from neighbors, Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) said in March 2015 the plan for a Fulton Market dispensary would be "very hard" to support, effectively killing it.
"He has to get the support of the community, which he doesn't have," Burnett said at the time. "That's going to be an uphill battle."
Besides VIPs, a strip club on the Near North Side, Mandera owns The Custom Companies, a trucking business, and Charter Fitness, a group of Midwest gyms.
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