Riverside trustees on Aug. 3 voted 5-0 to remove a barrier that would have prevented the village selling property it owns at 2710 Harlem Ave. until a cannabis dispensary under construction next door at 2704 Harlem Ave. was open for one month.

With that action, Riverside will sell the parcel of vacant land it owns possibly within weeks to Dr. Milad Nourahmadi, who owns not only 2704 Harlem Ave. but also the strip mall at 2720 Harlem Ave.

Nourahmadi, whose dental practice Shining Smiles is housed in the strip mall, will turn the vacant lot into parking not only for the shopping center but also for the dispensary.

The village moved to speed up the sale of the land to Nourahmadi, who will pay $230,000 for the property, because the cannabis dispensary is said to be eyeing an early September open, which will displace strip mall employees’ vehicles, which park in that lot presently.

Nourahmadi said there’s no closing date for the sale yet, but that he hopes to have the deal sealed by the end of the month. Construction plans for the parking lot improvements have already been submitted to the village and Nourahmadi said he is evaluating three bids from contractors.

If he can get the property purchase completed this month, Nourahmadi said it might be possible to have the 2710 Harlem Ave. parking lot completed by the end of September. 

That might be quick enough to avoid having to move employee parking onto Longcommon Road. In any case, moving up the land sale will reduce the time employee vehicles might have to park on that street during construction.

Phase II of the project will make improvements to the adjoining parking lot at 2720 Harlem Ave., which will include bike racks, village gateway and new shopping center signage and green space.

The shopping center lot will also be reconfigured in a way that eliminates traffic from cutting through the lot between Harlem Avenue and Longcommon Road.

Village Manager Jessica Frances announced at the village board’s Aug. 3 meeting that Star Buds IL was hoping to open the dispensary’s doors next month. 

The business’ signs are already in place with “opening soon” placards taped onto the front entrance doors. A peek inside the business last week showed the interior buildout was still in progress.

Reached on Aug. 7, Star Buds IL partner Ahmad Joudeh told the Landmark that “if all goes well” with the remaining interior build out and the state inspection process, the dispensary could open in mid-September.

“Our contractor is working full-on and we’re working closely with the village of Riverside [to keep the timing on track],” Joudeh said.

Nourahmadi and the village first agreed to the sale of 2710 Harlem Ave. in November 2021, when a different cannabis company had a tentative agreement in place to buy the 2704 Harlem Ave. property from Nourahmadi for a new dispensary.

Nourahmadi’s on again-off again deal with Mint IL LLC to buy his property collapsed in late 2022, but Nourahmadi inked a lease deal with Star Buds in early 2023, prompting the village to extend its 2710 Harlem Ave. sales agreement with Nourahmadi for a fourth time in March, adding in language requiring a dispensary to be open for at least one month to trigger the sale.

Cannabis company buying Brookfield property

While work renovating the property on Harlem Avenue in Riverside for a cannabis dispensary there has been ongoing for three months, things are all quiet at 8863 Ogden Ave. in Brookfield, where elected officials approved plans for a dispensary back in May.

However, plans by The 1937 Group for renovating the former physicians’ office into a dispensary are moving full steam ahead behind the scenes, according to Sonia Antolec, the cannabis company’s legal counsel.

“Our original goal was October, and we’re still pushing for October,” Antolec, a Brookfield resident, told the Landmark in a phone interview last week.

Antolec said the company would be closing on the purchase of the property “soon” but did not provide a date. The property has been owned by A to Z Medical Real Estate LLC since 2015, when it was purchased for $450,000.

Part of the property’s renovation will include demolishing the single-family residence at the rear of the lot. The now-vacant home will be used by the Brookfield police and fire departments for training prior to its demolition, Antolec confirmed.

Razing the residence will allow The 1937 Group to expand the parking lot and introduce some green space to the property. The village’s approval of the company’s plan also requires them to erect a fence along the south property line to prevent cut-though in and out of the parking lot from the alley, erect or repair the fence along the east property line and to obtain permission from the Illinois Department of Transportation to remove the curb cut into the parking lot from Ogden Avenue.

Vehicular access to the dispensary’s parking lot will be via a new curb cut on the east side of Prairie Avenue.