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How this St. Louis construction company saw an untapped opportunity in pot

So far, its cannabis division has constructed six cultivation and manufacturing facilities for companies including BeLeaf, KindBio and Cannaver.
Credit: SLBJ
Kyle Wilson of Kadean Construction photographed at the Proper Brands growing facility in Rock Hill, which was constructed by Kadean's Cannabis Design-Build Group led by Wilson.

ST. LOUIS — Seeing opportunities to grow in a newly legalized industry, Kadean Construction has developed a specialty in building projects for the emerging cannabis market.

In just over a year in operation, the Fenton-based construction firm's Cannabis Design-Build Group has designed or built $22 million of Missouri’s cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facilities, or more than 13% of the licensed facilities statewide.

Missouri voters in 2018 approved legalizing the sale of medical marijuana, which took effect in 2020. Also in 2018, Kadean brought on Kyle Wilson, a licensed architect with prior experience designing for the beer industry’s heavily regulated facilities, who saw in marijuana a market niche with opportunity for growth.

“There’s not been a market to come online effectively out of nowhere since Prohibition — and even then a lot of the brewery infrastructure existed, but had just been dormant,” Wilson said. “You look at the economics of how much money was in the black market flowing around as cash, and now it’s all coming above board. Governments are getting their cut, and individuals are now really willing to invest and collaborate in this marketplace.”

Founded in 1963 and led by CEO Mike Eveler, Kadean had $160 million in revenue in 2021 with 62 employees and, aside from the new cannabis sector, operates divisions specializing in industrial, health care, multifamily, science and technology, institutional, food and beverage, and commercial.

So far, its cannabis division has constructed six cultivation and manufacturing facilities for companies including BeLeaf, KindBio and Cannaver. Proper Brands is already adding 30,000 square feet to its 60,000-square-foot indoor cultivation facility built by Kadean in Rock Hill.

The market potential for Kadean could become even larger should Missouri voters legalize recreational marijuana. A signature-gathering initiative to put the legalization of recreational marijuana sales on a statewide ballot this year is underway. 

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