Marijuana, with a side of music, may soon be rolling out at Faneuil Hall

One could say Soul Cannabis, a project vying to take over the now vacant space in Faneuil Hall long occupied by Durgin-Park Restaurant, is a joint venture.

That’s because Soul Cannabis will not only include a marijuana dispensary, the first of its kind at the historic site, but will also include a recording studio — run by music director Michael Bivens, of New Edition fame — open for local musicians to use.

The project, which has secured a lease for 15,000 square feet and will seek approval from the Boston Cannabis Board on Wednesday, is a sign of the times for Faneuil Hall, which suffered badly Amid the tourism stagnation of the epidemic. Dorgen Park was, of course, a mainstay of old Boston, Serving diners for nearly 200 years Before Closing in early 2019. Soul Cannabis will usher in Boston in 2022 It revitalizes downtown.

“The thought was that foot traffic would be incredibly beneficial for merchants, especially now that they are out of COVID,” said Joe O’Malley, general manager of Faneuil Hall. “It would be another step in the right direction to try to get the property back to what it was before.”

And for the people behind Soul Cannabis, opening in Faneuil Hall is an opportunity to change the story of the market.

“We have an opportunity to make a real difference to those communities that have been hit by the cannabis ban by allowing them to have some visibility in the Faneuil Hall Market,” said Eric Lawrence, CEO of Soul Cannabis.

Pedestrians walked in front of Faneuil Hall in 2017. Charles Krupa/The Associated Press

To that end, Soul Cannabis plans to spend $200,000 annually on its recording studio program, providing free production and mentoring time to musicians from parts of Boston that were classified as having disproportionately high levels of drug decriminalization prior to marijuana’s legalization in Massachusetts. In the retail space, a rotating group of DJs will be invited to spin tracks, and “whisper booths” will allow customers to record their own karaoke tracks to take home.

The third floor – it is called “Freedom Hall”, in reference to Historic Market Links to Slavery and Triangular Trade between Boston, Africa, and the West Indies It will be dedicated to hosting community meetings, small business popups, and gallery space for local artists.

“What gets me excited, being a Roxbury kid, out of the hood of Orchard Park, [is] To say, you know, I can catch the Orange line, go downtown, get me a sheet, and live my dream of music,” Bivens said. [at] Faneuil Hall”.

To give the market a boost, Soul Cannabis intends to purchase $2,500 worth of prepared food each month from Faneuil Hall merchants, to be donated to the Editorial Voices Feed the Hoodthat distributes food to the needy. They are also partners with Great Hope Projectwhich works to seal and write off drug offenses from criminal records.

Existing dealers hope the dispensary will help “put Faneuil Hall back on the map,” said George Mahirakis, president of the Faneuil Hall Market Place Dealers Association. Soul Cannabis will be the latest Senior Tenant to commit to Faneuil Hall; The outposts of a chain of restaurants Margaritaville And the sugar factory They are set to fill vacant storefronts.

If Soul Cannabis passes the full approval process, they expect to increase and invest About $6 million into the site, which they hope to open late 2023 or early 2024.

“Faneuil Hall has gone through a bit of a transformational period, particularly after the pandemic,” said Victor Chiang, Soul Cannabis COO. “They are investing a lot in terms of transforming the market, with more restaurants, more entertainment concepts. For us, we felt this was a natural extension of that.”

Dana Gerber can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @danagerber6.

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