Manocherian Brothers first to give New Yorkers a legal high

Landlord leases 7,400 sf to Housing Works for cannabis store

From left: Housing Works CEO Charles King and Manocherian Brothers' Freydun Manocherian along with 750 Broadway (Getty, Google Maps, Housing Works, Manocherian Brothers)
From left: Housing Works CEO Charles King and Manocherian Brothers' Freydun Manocherian along with 750 Broadway (Getty, Google Maps, Housing Works, Manocherian Brothers)

The first legal cannabis store will open in a week at Manocherian Brothers’ 750 Broadway in Noho.

Housing Works, a nonprofit known for HIV/AIDS advocacy and a Soho bookstore, signed a 7,400-square-foot lease for the space, Katz & Associates announced. The Astor Place store will open Dec. 29, becoming the first legal seller of recreational marijuana in the city.

Housing Works Cannabis Co. will operate 4,400 square feet on the ground level and 3,000 square feet below at the site of a former Gap Men store. The nonprofit was one of the first to receive a state-approved license to sell recreational marijuana. Its dispensary will sell flower, pre-rolled joints, tinctures, concentrates and edibles.

Newmark’s Gary Alterman represented the Manocherian Brothers in the lease, while Katz’s Sean Philipps represented the tenant. The initial term is 10 years and the asking rent was $200 per square foot, Philipps told The Real Deal.

“This is a once in a lifetime moment,” store manager Sasha Nungent said in a press release from Gov. Kathy Hochul. All proceeds from sales at the store will go to the parent organization, Housing Works.

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(Illustration by Kevin Rebong for The Real Deal with Getty)
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It has been a long journey to the state’s first legal recreational marijuana sale, completed by Hochul after she replaced Andrew Cuomo in August 2021. The state enacted the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act in March 2021, paving the way for licenses to be distributed starting at the end of this year.

State lawmakers budgeted $200 million for the buildout of 150 dispensaries by 2024. Hochul, taking her cue from the state law, put a social justice lens on the budding industry with the Seeding Opportunity Initiative, which aims to reduce startup costs for those with prior marijuana convictions and their families.

As the state took its time licensing the first legal dispensaries, however, illegal shops popped up and proliferated. Smoke shops in New York often sell cannabis under the table for cash.

Mayor Eric Adams has cracked down on the illegal pot shops. The sheriff’s office and partner agencies have seized 600 pounds of weed and issued 500 civil summonses and 66 criminal summonses to weed dealers, according to the New York Daily News.

Meanwhile, the New York State Cannabis Control Board has approved only 36 licenses, including 28 for qualifying businesses and 8 for nonprofits.