When it comes to turnkey industrial grow parks, OG Spaces Managing Director Viyda Schatz says look no farther than her company’s compound outside Portland, Oregon.
For Viyda Schatz, the day begins with an extra-large splash of coffee and a strong sativa. This gets her ready for a day full of meetings, phone calls, paperwork, coordinating with employees, and the occasional lunch. “I am involved in a couple of businesses and delegate time based on each of the roles I play,” Schatz, 28, said. “Management, support, or otherwise.” Whenever work gets overwhelming, Schatz reminds herself that in the startup world there are no days off: Daily lists are made, items crossed off, added to, and remade for the next day.
OG Spaces launched in 2016 as cannabis-friendly management for recreational production. Located in tiny Clackamas County, Oregon, a suburb of Portland, OG Spaces’s DNA is their community “why” idea: to provide tools to businesses instead of product to the marketplace while building communities that support communities. The thought behind the thought? When companies go about things right the first time, they are already ahead of those who chose to cut corners. “We built our model on surveys, steel, and engineered corners,” noted Schatz.
What was your profession before founding OG Spaces?
I was a teacher for a decade. In 2013, I took a sharp left turn into real estate. One day my father and I were discussing the underserved parts of the cannabis industry, and real estate services came up. I began to learn all the new and evolving regulations through the [Oregon Liquor Control Commission] and began going to industry events. Shortly after, I met my business partner, Jesse—on Craigslist!—and the rest is history. [Jesse Kloberdanz is president of OG Spaces.]
How many employees do you have?
The team consists of myself and the amazing team at Dewey Farms and Greenstone Solutions. Together, we cover everything from the ground up.
How did Dewey Farms get involved?
Dewey Farms and OG Spaces make up the founding partners—Dewey as landlord and OG as community management and support. Eventually, we aim to be able to provide jobs and food grows to areas where fresh, real food isn’t available due to climate, funding, etc.
You work with top vendors, too.
We like to offer tenants a warm introduction to other ancillary businesses we know will provide them consistent and quality service. When their business runs smoothly, ours does too. Vendors such as Cannaguard, Kush Bottles, and Juniper Analytics have all demonstrated quality on a number of levels, and we speak that language and support those who do the same.
We have sold approximately 75 percent of our flagship production park outside Portland, and we are currently working with a few groups who plan to be at the industrial park for processing and wholesaling. We are also in the planning stages for a medium-scale hemp farm within the same county.
What’s the state of flower and grows in Oregon?
I predict flower sales always to maintain the lead here. They rise when new genetics come into market. Prices haven’t really gone too crazy, as [they have in] other legal markets. My crystal ball thinks 2018 will come with tighter regulations on license renewals and additional steps to keep the product clean. That could mean additional testing regulations; more requirements inside facilities to keep elements out. Nobody knows except the regulatory agencies. But one thing is for sure: High-quality products will sell.
What makes OG different from other industrial grow parks?
We have developed a special partnership through TCDco which provides our tenants a legal and highly secure way to facilitate the harvest process and utilize the space set aside for drying, trimming, and packaging. Once finished, the product is available to browse either in person or online for licensed retailers and processors. The new shopping experience is not only great for our tenants who are building brands, but also for existing brands who understand the value in that extra flower canopy.
There are many upsides to going with OG. We have a great relationship with county agencies such as planning, engineering, fire and law enforcement because our approach from the beginning was honesty and safety first. We don’t advertise our address anywhere. With regard to cleanliness, safety, and liability, we have standards within our lease that lay out what’s expected to ensure everyone’s space is respected.
What are the differences between direct build and pre-build?
With the direct model, the business owns the building, not the land; the land is leased from Dewey Farms for sixty months. In that sixty months, we provide a tenant improvement credit equal to the cost of their building shell. This brings rent down to about fifty cents per square foot per month. After sixty months, the lease transitions to a traditional three Ns with some predictable utilities, but the low price with low annual increases remains on the same schedule.
With the pre-build model, tenants lease a building from Dewey Farms. The tenant pays around $2 per square foot per month for a completed, but still customizable, building.
How long does each project take?
Our process from start to finish takes about nine weeks.
How far away are you from being the first cannabis park to obtain a carbon-neutral footprint?
That’s our goal between now and 2020. Eventually, we plan to be able to sell power back to the grid.
Where do you see OG Spaces in five, ten, fifteen years?
In five years we will be fully built out. In ten, we plan to get involved with whole-plant-medicine clinical trials. Fifteen years from now, I hope we have gone fully carbon-neutral at all facilities and companies within that are thriving.