What effect is the medical marijuana industry having on CRE in Berks County?

John Buccinno and Kyle McKechnie of NAI Keystone represented the seller, Pepsi Co., in the transaction of 1800 Centre Avenue, which is now home to one of the two Berks County applicants selected to grow medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.

Franklin Labs plans to use the former Pepsi distribution center at 1800 Centre Avenue as the location for their new growing facility. They must get their secure facility up and running in six months.

Reading City Council woman, Donna Reed, says “I’m happy the Pepsi building would have a repurposing so quickly.”

Since Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 3 into law, legalizing medical marijuana in PA, the race was on for companies to get their applications in for growing facilities and dispensaries.

With this planning came a high demand for larger industrial buildings in Berks County and its surrounding areas. A challenge in securing locations for medical marijuana sites in PA is zoning rules. These rules define what uses and conditions are permitted for the land. The challenge comes when a rule that may be permitted in one township may not be allowed on the next street that happens to fall in a different municipality.

The growing and processing of medical marijuana has its own challenges with rules and regulations as well. For example, most growing facilities will require a clean industrial or flex-type building. As an alternative, companies can choose to construct an on-site greenhouse on their land. This could take a toll on the effects the industry has on CRE if growers turn to this less expensive alternative. Whichever case, facilities must be fenced and will require high levels of security.

Since the medical marijuana epidemic began, rents for these growing and processing facilities have increased drastically. Many landlords have been requesting large security deposits as a result of the risk of the federal government impacting the state’s legalization and operation of these facilities.

Companies planning to open up dispensaries are looking for retail locations with a few main factors in mind: convenience, access, visibility and traffic. NAI Global PA firms such as NAI Keystone in the Berks County area, have experienced a dramatic increase in demand for commercial real estate from a number of national and statewide sellers. Pennsylvania firms must also work together to ensure equal coverage of dispensaries across the state.

Many companies have learned that buying their real estate may be the way to go given all the factors working against them in this controversial industry.

Sally Vader Veer, co-founder and CFO of Medicine Man said, “With so many obstacles and regulations in our way, owning your real estate is the only thing we can control in this industry. It’s essential to long-term success.” She also expressed that owning your real estate is a safe way to store your money, as long as property values hold or increase.

Josh Ginsberg, co-founder and CEO of Native Roots, said he has a team solely dedicated to looking for properties to buy or lease. They already own half their buildings and are working on purchasing even more.

As the commercial real estate industry adapts to this new industry, medical marijuana companies have also taken notice to the impact that CRE has had on their industry.

CalCann Holdings, a marijuana holding company, said that they are starting to focus more on the real estate instead of running dispensaries because these marijuana properties are worth millions if they are zoned properly.

George M. Stone, a real estate executive with the Witkoff Group, told the New York Times that, “This is a new segment of the industrial real estate market that is being created in front of our eyes.”

NAI Keystone sure has seen the effects of the medical marijuana industry on commercial real estate first hand. When applications opened, NAI Keystone received more than 75 phone calls from medical marijuana companies about properties. Before moving forward with any properties, our agents had to ensure that these companies have a strong financial backing seeing that this is a cash industry.

In the end, John and Kyle made out well on this deal by finding Franklin Labs a new home at 1800 Centre Avenue to begin their growing and processing facility. However, the future of medical marijuana commercial real estate needs are still uncertain due to the heavy regulations and risks that come with this evolving industry.

Kyle McKechnie of NAI Keystone is in search of a new building owner after Baker College leaves Reading

About 18 months ago, Baker College announced it was opening its first school outside of Michigan in Reading. Shortly after, moving vans pulled up outside the Baker College building at 606 Court Street to begin moving the school out.

Campus Director, Tony Vuckovich, said that Baker was optimistic in contributing to the education of Reading and Berks County students when they arrived here last year. Baker College chose Reading as its first campus outside Michigan due to their specialized curriculum for retraining displaced autoworkers for careers in education, information and technology, medicine, business and other growing disciplines.

Baker bought the building for approximately $1 million in 2015. The property then underwent significant renovations and improvements less than 2 years ago when the college put $2.5 million into the building.

With the building now vacant, Kyle McKechnie is in search of a new owner for the 26,360 SF office building located in the heart of downtown Reading.

“While it is disappointing to see a strong organization such as Baker College leave town, this also creates opportunity for an investor or company to acquire a Class A asset in the downtown Reading market. The property’s optimal placement adjacent to the courthouse, the Berks County Services Center and the Court Street parking garage makes this a coveted location.”, stated McKechnie regarding the situation.

The building is ideally suited for law firms, non-profits and companies routinely doing business in the courthouse or services center. The main entrance is off Court Street with the rear of the building having multiple entrance points via the common courtyard.

The property is fully handicapped accessible to all floors, adjacent to a public parking garage, and nearby to all downtown amenities.

For more information on this listing please contact Kyle McKechnie by phone at 610.370.8522 or email at kmckechnie@naikeystone.com

Bryan Cole of NAI Keystone Represents UGI in Relocating Operations in Allentown PA

Bryan Cole of NAI assisted UGI in relocating its operations to a 11,000 SF flex

building along Front Street in Whitehall Township. Cole worked alongside UGI to

find a suitable location for their operations.


UGI UTILITIES INC. currently has a 12,000 SF office sublease opportunity along

Medical Center Circle in Allentown PA.


For more information about Bryan Cole, this transaction,

or availabilities visit bryan-cole.com or call 610.370.8502.


NAI Keystone Commercial & Industrial, which maintains a prominent market share in

Berks and Schuylkill Counties, Pennsylvania, specializes exclusively in commercial and

industrial properties. In addition to property management and receiverships, NAI

Keystone provides brokerage services such as Tenant/Landlord and Buyer/Seller

representation, lease administration, commercial financing, consultation


For more information, please contact

Bryan Cole, SIOR


NAI Keystone Commercial & Industrial, LLC


Tammy Mitgang and Kyle McKechnie of NAI Keystone have facilitated the sale of 1310 Perkiomen Avenue in Downtown Reading

Tammy Mitgang and Kyle McKechnie of NAI Keystone have facilitated the sale of 1310

Perkiomen Avenue, a 12,946 SF Special Purpose/Religious Facility in Downtown

Reading. The property was owned by Olivet Boys & Girls Club, which ceased use of the

facility several years ago. Prior to Olivets, the property was built and operated as a

synagogue known as Temple Oheb Sholom. It was donated to Olivets in 1998.


Built in 1921, the multi-level building includes a large meeting space, balcony and social

hall with a stage area and kitchen. The building was designed by the notable architect,

James Vickson, who is also responsible for other prominent buildings including the

Reading Public Museum, Luden Mansion and Wyomissing High School.


NAI Keystone Commercial & Industrial, which maintains a prominent market share in

Berks and Schuylkill Counties, Pennsylvania, specializes exclusively in commercial and

industrial properties. In addition to property management and receiverships, NAI

Keystone provides brokerage services such as Tenant/Landlord and Buyer/Seller

representation, lease administration, commercial financing, consultation services, 1031

Tax Exchange, environmental surveys, and investment sales.

The Shillington Farmers Market has a new owner!

Established by Ted & Edith Ludwig in 1937, the Shillington Farmers Market has

enjoyed a long history as a pillar of the Shillington community. The tradition was

carried on by their daughter Eileen and her husband Jim Daley through the move

from the original market location to its location today at 10 S. Summit Avenue.


The market now passes to the next chapter of ownership with the announcement

of Hamid Chaudhry officially placing the market under contract for sale. As a local

entrepreneur and business owner, Hamid has high expectations for the future of

the market, the continued success of its vendors and the quality of products they

supply to their loyal customers. “I will do my best to make the Shillington Farmers

Market great again!”, said Chaudhry. An official date of settlement has not yet been

determined; however, it is expected in the coming weeks.


This transaction is being brokered by Steve Willems & Kyle McKechnie of NAI

Keystone Commercial & Industrial.


For more information, please contact

Kaitlyn Tothero

Marketing Director

NAI Keystone Commercial & Industrial, LLC



Cole Represents Penn State Health St. Joseph in Robesonia

NAI Keystone’s Bryan Cole represented Penn State Health St. Joseph in leasing a new facility in Robesonia PA.  NAI’s John Buccinno represented the Landlord, Mr. Vince Giannotti.  The site was home to Giannotti’s Italian Kitchen restaurant.


The site is a 6,000 sf. Free Standing Building at a lighted intersection in the heart of Robesonia at 410 E. Penn Ave.


For More Information call:  Bryan Cole @ 610.370.8502 or Bcole@naikeystone.com.


By Bryan Cole, SIOR | Principal

NAI Keystone Commercial & Industrial, LLC | www.Bryan-Cole.com



Tompkins VIST Bank hires Bryan Cole to handle lease negotiations

Tompkins VIST Bank hires Bryan Cole to handle lease negotiations.

Bryan Cole, a Principal at NAI Keystone, worked alongside Tompkins VIST Bank and their corporate real estate team to renew one of their leases.  The site was a free-standing retail building with great access and visibility.  By providing supporting market data and handling direct negotiations with the landlord, Bryan was able to reduce the rent costs by thirty percent.  Overall, Tompkins VIST Bank attained over $420,000 in total savings over seven years.

For More Information about Bryan Cole visit bryan-cole.com

NAI Keystone Commercial & Industrial, which maintains a prominent market share in Berks and Schuylkill Counties, Pennsylvania, specializes exclusively in commercial and industrial properties. In addition to property management and receiverships, NAI Keystone provides brokerage services such as Tenant/Landlord and Buyer/Seller representation, lease administration, commercial financing, consultation services, 1031 Tax Exchange, environmental surveys, and investment sales.