Cannabis firm plans million-dollar renovation of Hampden Bank building in downtown Springfield

The CEO of a cannabis firm said he "fell in love with" a historic building in downtown Springfield, and promised a "complete renovation" of the former Hampden Bank headquarters if his company gains approval to open a recreational marijuana dispensary.

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By Mary C. Serreze mserreze@gmail.com Special to The Republican

Chris Mitchem, leader and co-founder of the Oregon-based Diem Cannabis, on Saturday described plans to "put a million bucks" into the 1665 Main St. building, built in 1918 and located across the street from the Paramount Theater.

"It will look like the original Hampden Savings Bank," Mitchem said. "We got 100-year-old blueprints from the city, and are in the process of digitizing them."

The building was a law office for five decades before closing in recent years.

Mitchem said the light-filled building, with its 30-foot glass ceiling and a marble interior, "needs a lot of work," but suggested that cash flow from a $5 million-per-year business would make the investment profitable.

"We're excited to contribute to the revitalization of Springfield," said Mitchem, who said Diem has raised $12.5 million in capital to invest in its Massachusetts operations.

Mitchem noted that MGM Springfield has invested millions "at the other end of Main Street," and that a $41 million renovation of the Paramount Theater is also underway.

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