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Q&A: What You Need To Know About The New High Harbor Cannabis Lounge in West Peoria

Tim Shelley
The former Sky Harbor Steak House on Park Road in West Peoria.

A former West Peoria steakhouse is becoming the area's first cannabis consumption lounge.

The lounge is slated to open in early 2022.

Tim Shelley speaks with High Harbor Cannabis Lounge and Event Center owner Ron DiGiacomo about the new business.

RON DIGIACOMO: As you know, we took over the old Sky Harbor Steakhouse. It's a 6,676 square foot building, located in West Peoria. We are basically going to turn it into a Cannabis Event Center, for basically having different events and having consumption on premise.

One of the things about the Sky Harbor that we're trying to keep intact - it was a staple in the community for a long time - there was there was huge acts that played there. The Klusendorf family who owned the Sky Harbor, really did a great job of keeping the entertainment going in the steakhouse, kind of like an era gone by whether you'd have have dinner and listen to these great acts.

So in honor of that, you know, we're going to create this event center, we're going to have the Klusendorf stage in honor of the Klusendorfs, where we'll try to bring back a lot of that great entertainment back into Peoria, along with people being able to relax and enjoy cannabis while listening to the music.

There'll be no alcohol in the club. It's just going to be basically two consumption lounges, a food truck court, and that stage I was talking about. We have a VIP section that's going to have a nice indoor outdoor feel we're going to consumption will be allowed. And we'll have a little retail stand where you'll buy smoking apparatus and consumption accessories and rentals for that.

So yeah, we're pretty excited about the project. It's the first of its kind, one of the first in the whole state. I think there's several opening up as we speak. But we're excited to be in Peoria.

TIM SHELLEY: Are you considering this will be a regional, or maybe even like a statewide draw. Will people from outside this area be coming here?

RON DIGIACOMO: Oh, absolutely. I mean, our Instagram has been blowing up ever since we made the announcement. We got the special use permits from West Peoria, (and it) has been great. And (they are) working with us trying to make this program come to fruition.

Some of the other things we're going to do with keeping the airport retro theme there, which is kind of cool, we're just going to kind of make it a little bit more modern. But keep that kind of theme.

And we're gonna have some special visual effects in there, some 3D mapping. It's going to be an experience, and basically, we're also going to host not only live music, but we're thinking about having comedy nights, educational events - obviously, we're going to have festivals, corporate exhibits, cannabis fitness and cooking classes, private parties, so you'll be able to rent the place out for cannabis consumption. It's going to be something that people will want to come out of there.

TIM SHELLEY: Do you ever see it being a possibility to be able to sell (cannabis) on site or no?

RON DIGIACOMO: We have zoned some of the property to have a dispensary there in the future. We have like three acres. We're working on that now as more dispensaries come in. So they may be not part of the consumption lounge. But there may be a dispensary on premise.

We're actually even thinking about creating a cannabis retreat center and maybe doing some rental property in the back and making it where you would come and enjoy cannabis, buy cannabis, and kind of have it all circulate around that little area that we have on that corner. Because we did buy on lots and on the side too, for future expansion of the premise.

So it's it's a vision that I think is needed. I kind of got the brainchild came from a lot of people came into our dispensary, Trinity, from out of town. You know people do come in and they can't smoke in their hotel rooms. Most hotels have banned smoking of any kind. So they said, you know where can I go use this legally? And I said well, you need a friend that owns a home here.

And then I just said, you know that this is going to be... it's kind of just cemented the idea to me that this is needed because a lot of people are in that same situation.

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