BRISTOL, Va. — A change of presidents at Par Ventures should have no effect on that company’s plans to redevelop the Bristol Mall or its relationship with a start-up pharmaceutical firm’s intent to operate there, according to Par owner Clyde Stacy.
Stacy said Monday there has been some confusion about his company and Dharma Pharmaceuticals — the firm seeking a Virginia Board of Pharmacy license to produce cannabidiol products. There has also been confusion about the role of his nephew, Ken Stacy, who served as president of Par Ventures until June 7.
Michael Johnson, the Abingdon pharmacist who is a principal in Dharma Pharmaceuticals, and Shanna Berry, an Abingdon real estate agent involved in the project, identified Ken Stacy as a Dharma partner last Monday during a public meeting at the Bristol Train station.
Ken Stacy contacted the Bristol Herald Courier Monday afternoon to say he never had any role in the pharmaceutical company despite those statements. He also announced he resigned from Par Ventures last Thursday for “personal reasons.”
“I don’t have a problem with the project and I don’t have a problem with the people involved,” Ken Stacy said. “I’m not trying to down the project. I’m not on that project and never was as an investor; never had any ownership interests.”
Ken Stacy said he’s never even met Johnson or Berry and was unhappy to be identified in that way.
Clyde Stacy, the owner of Par Ventures and Ken Stacy’s uncle, said the whole thing is a misunderstanding.
“They misspoke when they brought Ken’s name into it,” Clyde Stacy said. “Ken was president but he actually hadn’t worked on this program. I had done all the work with Shanna and Mike and the other people involved.”
Johnson declined comment for this story and Berry didn’t return a phone call.
Clyde Stacy said he understands the confusion because his company plans to invest in Dharma if it succeeds in securing the state license.
“Par Ventures, if we get the license, will have an ownership interest [in Dharma]. It’s my company and I own it wholly. Mike should have explained that carefully when they had the meeting when he named me as an owner and then named Ken. I own Par Ventures and I will be one of the owners [of Dharma],” Clyde Stacy said. “He [Johnson] was just real nervous.”
Par Ventures didn’t sign the state application and has no plans to be involved in running Dharma’s day-to-day operations, Clyde Stacy said.
Dharma is attempting to secure one of five state licenses that would allow it to grow cannabis inside in a sealed, controlled facility then use a CO2 process to extract CBD and THC-A oils. The oils would then be refined into products and dispensed on site to Virginia residents who receive a doctor’s recommendation and state permission to acquire the products, which would be used to treat a variety of conditions and diseases.
Clyde Stacy said he is in the process of naming a new president for Par Ventures and he looks forward to redeveloping the mall, which Par recently acquired for $2.6 million.
“We’ve already talked to about 10 other people trying to get them to come into the mall. I think we’ll be pretty successful, even if this Dharma thing doesn’t work out,” Clyde Stacy said. “We think we can bring it back to life. We’re not looking at retail because that’s not going to go and we’ve got too much of that here already. We’re looking at industrial-type jobs and hiring people at some pretty good wages. We’re not asking the city for any money. We believe we can turn this mall into a profitable enterprise for us and a good place for the city.”
Par Ventures was involved in the Coalfields Expressway in Buchanan County and buys and sells property and buildings, said Clyde Stacy, the former head of Rapoca Energy.
He offered additional insight into what his company hopes to do with the mall property.
“Dharma, we have set aside 86,000 square feet for them to use and we can get them more if they need it. For the rest of the mall, we’re trying to bring in some industrial stuff that can come in here, stay for a while and create some good jobs,” he said. “We’re talking to a plastic manufacturer now with the possibility of leasing out over 200,000 square feet, including Dharma. We’re just talking; nothing is signed.”
Stacy said he intends to present some formal plans to city officials in the coming weeks.
The Virginia Board of Pharmacy is expected to forward all applications to an ad hoc committee, which will review and score them. The board is expected to award conditional approvals in August and final approvals in September.