Leading Voices in Real Estate has tackled the full spectrum of the real estate industry: multifamily, office, retail, hospitality, and now cannabis? That’s right. This week, Matt speaks with Paul Smithers, CEO of Innovative Industrial Properties, the first and only NYSE REIT serving the cannabis space. It’s hard to imagine that this type of business would exist even a decade ago, but with the changing landscape of real estate investment groups and the legalization of marijuana across the U.S., Innovative Industrial Properties tapped into an industry with huge growth potential.
Founded in 2016, Innovative Industrial Properties (IIP) is the pioneering real estate investment trust for the medical-use cannabis industry. Like a traditional real estate investment trust (REIT), a corporation that combines the capital of many investors to acquire income-producing real estate, IIP invests in facilities that are a combination of industrial buildings plus greenhouses for (mostly) medical-use cannabis. IIP has invested in properties in over 12 states and will likely continue to grow as medical-use cannabis is legal in 33 states, plus the District of Columbia. On average, IIP is seeing returns between 11 and 14%.
Paul and his Co-Founder, Alan Gold, hatched up the idea for the company in his backyard. Alan had co-founded two bio-tech REITs, Alexandria and BioMed, and after selling Biomed, was looking for a new venture. So, they acquired the real estate behind a marijuana grow center and, from there, created the idea behind the REIT.
Paul brought over three decades of leadership experience in legal, commercial and real estate spaces, to leading the development of key growth strategies designed to achieve strong returns on investment at IIP. Prior to IIP, Paul held positions as co-founder and chief legal officer of Iso Nano International, LLC, a designer and manufacturer of advanced materials for use in the aerospace, consumer goods, electronics, and safety industries. Preceding Iso Nano International, LLC, Paul was the managing partner of Smithers & Player, Attorneys at Law.
Listen in to hear how Paul is riding high off of this unique business venture!
Episodes will be released the first and third Mondays of every month, with our next interview on November 18 with Brad Greiwe, Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Fifth Wall, a venture capital firm concentrating on technology for the built world.