Developer dumps plan to turn old cinema into pot cultivation facility


SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — Charles Tapalian, the developer that was looking to turn the former Showcase Cinemas on Fall River Avenue into a marijuana cultivation facility, has withdrawn his application for the rezoning of the property.

“It is obvious that Seekonk’s elected officials have made every effort to demonize anything that we try to do that would bring additional tax revenue into Seekonk,” Tapalian said.

Tapalian had wanted to put a 102-unit apartment complex at the rear of the former movie multiplex property, which would expand an existing complex, and had formed a partnership with a Maine businessman Jamie Crumb, who would have turned the front of the property into a cannabis processing plant.

Part of the plan included a retail component, but Tapalian dropped that portion due to backlash at a heated informational meeting about the plans Jan. 30.

The new apartments and the grow facility would each have required zoning changes. The town previously approved a zone that they’d be fine with a cultivation facility, but it’s closer to the Seekonk Speedway in a non-residential location.

Tapalian noted none of the five town selectpersons showed any interest in working with him or negotiating over the project, despite its potential to bring in millions of dollars every year in tax revenue. He now plans to pursue other towns that he says approached him, interested in the same offer that he’d made to Seekonk.

While he criticized how “Selectman Andrade actually had the police call residents telling them to attend the meeting [about the zone change], which hasn’t been done before,” he too, had been criticized for offering a $500 voucher to residents of the apartments he currently owns adjacent to the Showcase property if they went to a town meeting about the new apartment proposal. He rescinded those vouchers after protests.

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