NBA player and Benton Harbor grad Wilson Chandler investing in downtown development
BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- Four proposed medical marijuana dispensaries have been working to get city approval in Benton Harbor for the past year and one is now closer to opening its doors.
Wilson Chandler is a Benton Harbor High School alum and current player on the Brooklyn Nets.
Now, he’s looking to help develop his hometown and is reviving a 100-year-old building in the process.
Benton Harbor’s Planning Commission recommending city commissioners grant a special use permit for the dispensary Tuesday night.
Chandler, purchasing the historic OB Hipp building on Main Street and partnering with Cornerstone Alliance to renovate the 120-year-old landmark.
“We want to do everything we can to recruit new development in downtown Benton Harbor and that’s why we invested in this building,” said Rob Cleveland, Cornerstone Alliance president. “And ultimately, this is one small piece in the larger development of Main Street and downtown.”
Chandler’s proposed dispensary is called Greenstone Wellness, and Cleveland says it’s expected to bring jobs, people and more investments into the area.
“I know Wilson’s goal is to improve the community, which has been proven over and over by his actions,” said Cleveland. “Whether it’s supporting youth activities or purchasing real estate. He’s a local resident investing in the future of his community. And that’s what every community in the country wants right? Somebody who grew up in the community who invests in buildings, in children, in parks and we’re supportive of working with Wilson in any way we can.”
And that’s not all, Cornerstone Alliance itself purchasing the former Farmers and Merchants Building next door. Another big step, they say, in downtown Benton Harbor’s revival.
“We purchased that building and we invested in the facade because what we heard from prospective tenants was the facade was such a significant piece of the building that they were hesitant to invest in the real estate without it being improved,” said Cleveland. “So we invested in the real estate in order to improve the building and to ultimately attract a developer which is what we’ve been able to do.”
Next for Chandler’s medical marijuana dispensary is to get that special use permit officially granted by the city.
As for the old F&M building, it is still on the market for $249,000.