Alexis Bronson stands for a portrait outside the vacant storefront at 152 Geary St. where he and his business partners have been trying to put in a marijuana dispensary on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. (Photo: Kevin N. Hume)
After announcing the acquisition of 13 pot shops, High Times has lost the lease on both SF locations.
It’s a sad fact that many local businesses have closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there can’t be many San Francisco retail stores who were first acquired by private equity investors for an eye-popping $80 million only to lose their high-profile Union Square lease because those same investors simply stopped paying rent.
That’s what happened to one ill-fated San Francisco equity dispensary — and another proposed dispensary in the Richmond District — both of which were acquired by High Times magazine’s parent company, Hightimes Holdings, in a deal that made national headlines. Back in April, when the acquisitions were first announced, Hightimes was fixing to put its name on 13 California dispensaries, two of which were here in San Francisco: at 152 Geary Street, and 5600 Geary Boulevard.
Neither of those dispensaries have opened or received permits yet. The 152 Geary Street location did receive Planning Commission approval in February, but SF Weekly reported in May how that shop’s co-owner did not consent to the Hightimes sale, after his ownership stake was flipped to a private equity firm called Interurban Capital Group (ICG), then sold to an Arizona dispensary chain called Harvest Health and Recreation, and then sold again weeks later to Hightimes — all without his permission.
Hightimes has since lost the lease on that 152 Geary Street location, apparently due non-payment of rent. The New York-based real estate agent Thor Equities has listed 152 Geary Street with an ad saying “Space is Available.” Thor Equities did not respond to request for comment for this article, but the co-owner of the proposed dispensary did.
Published: September 22, 2020