Multi-billion Dollar NYSE REIT Veterans Work to Deploy $140m Into the Cannabis Industry

Exclusive Interview with GreenAcreage CEO Katie Barthmaier

GreenAcreage, an independently managed cannabis REIT, has built an experienced team and lined up an organic pipeline of growth due to its strategic relationship with Acreage Holdings, according to CEO Katie Barthmaier. She spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about GreenAcreage’s assets, plans to diversify its portfolio and markets of interest for future investment. The audio of the entire conversation is available at the end of this written summary.

Barthmaier spent nearly 14 years at net lease REIT W.P. Carey (NYSE: WPC), where she focused on a wide variety of assets, many of which were specialized properties. Gordon DuGan, the former CEO of W.P. Carey, connected her and his friend David Carroll. Carroll, a colleague of Acreage CEO Kevin Murphy, asked Barthmaier to be the CEO of the cannabis REIT he was starting. She did her research and quickly realized the opportunity to enter a quickly growing market.

Putting Together the Team

The GreenAcreage team is made up of leaders with extensive REIT investment experience. DuGan, now the Executive Chairman of GreenAcreage, ran Gramercy Property Trust following his leadership at W.P. Carey.  Carroll brings his investment experience to the role of Vice Chairman. Jeff Lefleur, an 18-year veteran of W.P. Carey, is Chief Investment Officer. Chief Operating Officer Wilson Pringle has worked with Carroll for more than two decades, and Chief Financial Officer Fred Starker brings years of experience to the team as well.

Strategic Relationship with Acreage Holdings

While born from a relationship with Acreage Holdings, GreenAcreage was always intended to be an independent REIT. Diversification will make the platform stronger and allow it to serve as a consistent source of capital for Acreage and other operators in the industry, according to Barthmaier.

Thus far, GreenAcreage has closed on four properties with Acreage, including cultivation facilities in Pennsylvania and Massachusetts and a dispensary in Connecticut. The fourth property will be built-to-suit in Florida.

Through this strategic relationship, GreenAcreage also has the right of first offer on Acreage’s future real estate opportunities for the next few years, according to Barthmaier.

Deal Structure

GreenAcreage provides sale-leaseback and construction financing to the cannabis space. The REIT is positioning itself as a long-term capital partner for the industry, targeting 15- to 20-year leases. Cap rates usually range from 11 to 15 percent with annual escalations, according to Barthmaier.

Cresco Labs Transaction

GreenAcreage recently executed its first transaction outside of Acreage properties. The REIT is purchasing a 220,000-square-foot Cresco Labs cultivation facility in Illinois for $50 million. It has funded $40 million to date and will fund an additional $10 million as more construction is completed over the next few months, according to Barthmaier.

An Aerial View of the Cresco Labs Cultivation Facility

The GreenAcreage team likes the Cresco Labs management team, financial performance to-date and its business model. The REIT is also excited about the Illinois market as it prepares to launch recreational use.

Capital and Investors

GreenAcreage has raised $140 million thus far and put $65 million to work–$25 million with Acreage assets and $40 million with the Cresco cultivation facility, according to Barthmaier. The REIT expects to close on more assets soon.

The REIT’s varied investor base includes hedge funds and family offices. In Q1, it will likely be looking for new capital to continue the platform’s growth.

Future Investments

With an eye to diversification, GreenAcreage is interested in including different types of assets, geographies, and operators in its portfolio. Cultivation facilities will likely remain at the heart of the business, but ancillary assets and production and testing facilities are also of interest.

When it comes to different geographies, GreenAcreage is watching markets with high barriers to entry and a likelihood of going recreational. Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, Arizona, Florida, and Michigan are all on the REIT’s radar.

Looking to the Future

GreenAcreage is not the only REIT operating in the cannabis space, but Barthmaier sees enough opportunity to keep everyone busy. GreenAcreage will focus on being selective with its opportunities and capital. Going public is a future consideration, but no definitive timeline has been set.

Barthmaier and her team will be carefully tracking the industry as it underwrites credits and enters into long-term leases; it wants to make sure the operators it works with are able to meet their obligations.

While keeping up with the rapid changes in the cannabis industry is a challenge, the shift in equity valuations has made alternative capital providers, like GreenAcreage, an attractive option.

To learn more, visit the GreenAcreage website. Listen to the entire interview:

Exclusive article by Carrie Pallardy
Carrie Pallardy, a Chicago-based writer and editor, began her career covering the healthcare industry and now writes, edits and interviews subject matter experts across multiple industries. As a published writer, Carrie continues to tell compelling, undiscovered stories to her network of readers. For more information contact us.

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