While New England Development (NED) might not have an interest in the Heritage Club marijuana store as a company, some of their senior executives are looking at private opportunities to personally invest in the company – though there had been no investment as of yet by them according to Heritage Club founders.
There were abundant rumors about involvement from New England Development – who also owns the Bunker Hill Mall – in the land and operations of the Heritage Club, proposed for 116 Cambridge St. Last week, there was some confusion in a statement from New England Development in that they said they are not involved or interested in the marijuana store or the land around it.
That was correct, but there is a wrinkle. Apparently several senior executives from the company – including Scott Baker – are in private conversations apart from New England Development about potential investments in the marijuana business.
“Certain executives of New England Development have the flexibility and are able to focus on opportunities outside of the real estate space and the core functions of NED,” said Deborah Black of New England Development. “In this case, it is too early to determine if an investment will occur and who within the organization might ultimately participate in this investment opportunity, but these activities and investments are made by individuals and are separate from the real estate activities of New England Development.”
Black declined to name all the executives, but said Scott Baker – a vice president at NED – is looking into a private investment with Heritage Club that has nothing to do with NED. She reiterated that any activities associated with the Heritage Club did not involve New England Development as a company.
Heritage Club founders Nike John and Maggie Suprey told the Patriot Bridge, and also said as much in their community meeting Oct. 29, that they still are the 100 percent owners of the company. They said they are in talks with about four or five potential investors in the company.
“As far as the ownership, we don’t have any investors from New England Development,” said John. “It’s just the two of us now. We’ve been bootstrapping this with our own savings. We are talking with four or five investors and we’re trying to find the right partners. We’re being thoughtful about who we choose because this is not a one-year thing where we just sell-out quickly. We’re in this at least five years.”
John said they have not heard any news that their landlord has intentions on selling the land to New England Development.
“Our landlord owns the properties on most sides of us and we have been told that he has no intentions of selling or development on the near term, which is one of the reasons why we picked this location,” said John.
There had also been rumors that the former proponent for the property, Bloominus, was a secret partner in the company. Both John and Suprey said that is absolutely not the truth. In fact, they said they have worked hard to make sure people understood they were different than Bloominus, particularly in their focus on social equity.
“We are 100 percent owners of this business and we’re not associated with Bloominus,” said John. “It’s hard for us because we’ve done a lot of work to explain we’re not a part of that. We started this on our own and everything we’ve done is one our own.”