The former site of Nalley Fine Foods in Nalley Valley, Tacoma once manufactured pickles, mayonnaise, and potato chips. But now that the 22-acre land is owned and managed by 74-year-old George Heidgerken, he has a different idea.
Instead of leasing it to industrial business, Heidgerken decided to rent it to 16 state-licensed marijuana growers and processors.
In an interview with The News Tribune, Heidgerken claimed that he doesn’t smoke marijuana. Yet being a businessman all his life, he knows the value of trying new ventures. “I learned real quick you can make a lot more money with your head than with your hands,” he said in a conference featuring his various projects. “What you’re looking at is experience. If you see a guy without a record, he hasn’t done much. The road to success is bumps and bruises.”
He said that he first heard of the Nalley Valley property through a local realtor. Although he initially said no, he realized that he could earn more from cannabis growers and processors than warehouse clients. He and his partners have invested an estimated $15 million on That Other Stuff, LLC, the corporation that handles the Nalley Valley operation.
“All I am is a landlord,” Heidgerken said. He provides utilities like water, gas, power, restrooms, sprinklers, security, and sewer access to his tenants. He charges $1.35 per square foot, with an additional 9 cents per foot for parking.
“We’re fully leased. I might have 30,000 square feet left,” he said.
While the venture seems profitable for both Heidgerken and his tenants, Tacoma community and economic development director Ricardo Noguera said he prefers to make the site more available to industrial tenants that would promote more jobs.
“What I’m trying to do is to grow more retail and industrial, and create more jobs,” he said. “I’m viewing marijuana as nurseries, with far fewer jobs per foot than with industrial.”
Still, this does not deter Heidgerken from continuing with his own leasing venture. “These are all problems that can be solved with the right attitude,” he said.