Former coffee plant to process hemp in Houston's East End

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The mere mention of the scent of coffee in the East End will conjure up fond memories for those who have spent a lot of time in the neighborhood.

"I remember when we would wake up and it would smell like coffee in the morning. It was nice," said Gus Rodriguez, a barber at Mi Guerrero.

The shop is just a short walk from what used to be a Maxwell House coffee manufacturing facility. The once busy corner of Harrisburg and Milby is now quiet.

"But now, I mean, it's changed so much, you know," Rodriguez said.

The City of Houston has confirmed to ABC13 Eyewitness News that Elemental Processing, a hemp production company, is now moving in.

Gov. Greg Abbot signed House Bill 1325 into law in early June, which legalized hemp production in the state of Texas.

RELATED: Gov. Abbott signs bill allowing Texas farmers to grow hemp

Colin Valencia is a managing partner with Oil Well, a company specializing in creating different products using the various oils from the cannabis plant.

He is not affiliated with Elemental Processing but tells ABC13 he is excited about Houston's most recent steps forward in the industry.

"I think that's beautiful," he said. "I think that it's an important thing that's going to be more and more part of our daily lives because people want it to be."

Back in May, Mayor Sylvester Turner wrote a letter to the state senate in support of HB 1325, explaining Elemental Processing's plans to occupy the former coffee manufacturing plant to produce more than 100,000,000 pounds of hemp biomass a year.

The estimated economic output, according to the letter, was as much as $947.9 million per year.

In addition, Mayor Turner estimated just over 4,000 new jobs would be created.

"I think it's would be a good change," said Roberto Del Toro, owner of Texas Toros BBQ. "I think it would be a positive because it will bring jobs."

ABC13 attempted to reach out to the CEO of Elemental Processing for this story but did not hear back.

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