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Waltham Contractor Taps New Director Of Cannabis To Lead Cultivation, Retail Projects

Vantage Builders Director of Cannabis Margaret Cachel

A Boston-area contractor with a national cannabis construction portfolio has named a new leader for its cannabis business.

Vantage Builders promoted Margaret Cachel to the new role of director of cannabis, the company announced Tuesday. Cachel, an industry veteran and previously Vantage’s chief estimator, will oversee cannabis projects for the company with more than 600K SF of cultivation and dispensary projects under its belt.

“The cannabis market has opened tremendous opportunity for Vantage Builders and in just a few years has become one of our most critical business segments,” Cachel said in a statement.

Cachel understands issues in cannabis construction ranging from permitting, site selection, systems work and lighting, Vantage Builders principal John Connor said. She was previously a project contract administrator for 18 years at Energy Management of New England.

Vantage has been active in the cannabis industry with more than 25 cannabis facilities either completed or in process, including retail and cultivation facilities across New England. The firm also builds healthcare and educational facilities, recently completing a 19K SF office renovation for the University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Research Institute in Lincoln.

Cachel’s position is the only one of its kind at a contractor in Massachusetts, she said in an interview Tuesday. Vantage entered the cannabis industry in 2016, when marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts, and the company at first didn’t know how to treat the new industry, she said.

“We’ve learned that those are extremely interesting projects that require attention to details, attention to coordination, close relationships with the design team, ownership and growers.”

Cannabis facilities, which can vary widely in price, are built to standards similar to cleanrooms in life sciences or biomanufacturing facilities, Cachel said. The facilities also require advanced mechanical systems. 

In Massachusetts, marijuana stores are expected to surpass $1B in sales this year and the Cannabis Control Commission continues to increase the pace of licensing and opening of facilities. Indoor cultivation facilities accounted for nearly 98% of the cannabis sold in Massachusetts last year, and state regulations currently make outdoor growing a financially risky venture.

Cachel’s hire comes amid a booming national market for cannabis, as real estate firms devote resources to cater to the industry in anticipation of a wave of investment. Seventeen states have legalized cannabis, sales have soared and a banking act to free up financing has for the second time reached the U.S. Senate.

UPDATE, MAY 25, 4 P.M. ET: This story has been updated with comments from Vantage Builders' Margaret Cachel.

Related Topics: Vantage Builders, cannabis