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Pot shop preps to open in former KFC building

Building owner says the former KFC and current Bello Pizza sites will be demolished for mid-rise building in the next ten years

Work is underway on the former Collingwood KFC building for a future cannabis retail space, but the clock is still ticking toward the demolition of the building, according to the landowner. 

Both the property at 70 First Street and its neighbour at 72 First Street (now Bello Pizza) were purchased in the last few years by Toronto-based development group Castlepoint Numa with plans for future development on that corner, which fronts First and Pine Streets. 

Today, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) announced a new public notice and comment period for a cannabis retail licence at 70 First Street, and renovation work on the building has been underway for several weeks now. 

Value Buds originally submitted a cannabis retail store licence application for the 70 First Street location in 2021, with the public comment period ending for that application on Jan. 4, 2022. 

The AGCO confirmed the previous application was withdrawn and a new one was submitted Aug. 4.

The application has again been posted by the AGCO for a new 15-day public notice and comment phase ending Sept. 6, 2023. During the 15-day public notice phase, anyone can file an objection or submission related to the application. The deadline to file is Sept. 1. 

Harley Valentine, a partner in the Castlepoint Numa development group and a part-time Collingwood resident, said his group has a lease agreement with Value Buds for the short-term at 70 First Street. 

He expects Value Buds to open its doors to the public by the end of the year. As per the lease, it's Value Buds doing the renovations to the space, not Castlepoint Numa. 

According to Valentine, the longer-term plan is to tear down the former KFC, and the neighbouring Bello Pizza building to build a mid-rise building with commercial space on the ground floor and residential units on the top floors. 

"We would be looking afresh at the site and be introducing some new, triple-A, retail with glazing that would wrap around the corner of First Street across Pine," said Valentine during a phone interview with CollingwoodToday on Aug. 23. "We're hopeful that we will find the highest and best use of the land, and that may be a six or an eight-storey building." 

He said the group is hopeful that Bello Pizza would expand and take a larger space in a new building. The residential spaces would be either condominiums or rental units, depending on the market at the time, said Valentine. 

"We're hopeful to advance an application in the next two years and to hopefully deliver the next life on this site in under 10 years," said Valentine. 

Value Buds is a cannabis retail store chain with locations in Ontario and Edmonton. It is part of a parent company called SNDL, which includes the liquor retail banners of Wine and Beyond, Liquor Depot, and Ace Liquor Discounter; cannabis retail banners of Spiritleaf, Value Buds and Superette; and 11 cannabis brands. 

There is currently a Value Buds store in Meaford and one in Wasaga Beach. 

There are already six licensed cannabis stores in Collingwood, including Treetz on First Street, Best Buds Forever on Hurontario Street, Spiritleaf on Balsam Street, Stash and Co on Balsam Street, Tokyo Smoke at 510 First Street, and Sessions on Hurontario Street, which was the first to open in town. 

Those six stores are in addition to another application currently in the public notice and comment phase for Pop's Cannabis Co, which is aiming to open at the 151 First Street Plaza where Popeye's fast-food restaurant is located (same parking lot as Shoppers Drugmart).