Real estate broker Benjamin Virga has been waiting to get into the weed business. Ever since medical marijuana was legalized in Massachusetts a decade ago, he’s been preparing for what he calls the “inevitable” segue to selling the drug for lawful, recreational consumption.

“Cannabis users are very much connoisseurs,” Virga explained with a grin during an interview in his office in the Uphams Corner section of Dorchester. He compared the blossoming industry to the real estate business, where “hard work and hustle and determination” can make or break one’s success.

Virga, 43, has recruited investors and business partners and has scouted locations for his new business. The company, which doesn't yet have an official name, is wrapping up state applications for cultivation, production and wholesale delivery operations in Berkley, Massachusetts. Now Virga and his partners are looking to secure a space for a retail store in Boston.

The city's zoning rules bar marijuana establishments within half a mile of one another or within 500 feet of a K-12 school. Virga said those restrictions limited his options for a store location. He almost settled on one spot along Hancock Street in Uphams Corner, but moved in deference to community members who said the location was a non-starter. He’s since identified a potential shop at 8-12 Hancock Street, closer to the Strand Theater.

The building, previously Cataloni’s bar, is surrounded by various retail businesses — a Walgreens, a rent-to-own furniture store, and a nail salon — as well as homes. In the bar's former life, it was the site of multiple drug-related arrests and a car crash, leading to a battle with the city and its eventual closure. Some longtime residents are concerned that adding a marijuana shop to the current mix of businesses would invite crime and bring back a sense of neighborhood trauma.

“I’m not so much against a marijuana retail store as I am against this specific location where they’re looking at,” said Stanley Jones, a homeowner and Hancock Street Civic Association member, in an interview with WGBH News. “I’m definitely for development, but we’re talking about something specific — something that gets people high.”

Jones, 58, lives about 300 feet from the proposed shop and can hear the noisy street from his living room. He said he can recall a time when truant kids, drinkers and illicit drug-users would congregate near the bar.

“My fear is, if this store opens up as a marijuana store, what’s going to prevent these kids from coming back to this corner, selling drugs, thieving and murder?” he asked.

Though he named public safety as a chief concern, Jones said he’s also concerned about property values and the well-being of sober home residents in the area. “It seems like a contradiction” to allow a retail marijuana store near those in recovery, he suggested.

Other longtime residents mentioned additional concerns, too: clogged traffic, tighter parking and the pungent odor of marijuana smoke should customers decide to partake illegally in public. Boston City Councilor Frank Baker, who represents the area, predicted an uphill battle to win neighborhood approval.

“To date, I haven’t had anybody say they’re interested in it,” Baker said.

Baker, who represents part of Dorchester, said as many as four marijuana applications were pending in his district not including the medical marijuana dispensary approved earlier this year. He said a gradual, intensely-studied rollout of recreational marijuana in Boston might warm skeptical residents up to pot shops opening in their backyards.

Not all residents in the Uphams Corner area are opposed to the idea, though.

“I just don’t see how a bar that’s been closed should stay a bar that’s closed just because someone wants to try something that the general community has no problem with,” said Jeffery Newton, pointing to the 2016 statewide referendum to legalize marijuana. More than 60 percent of Boston voters supported it.

Newton, 35, is a newer, younger resident and a member of the Jones Hill Association. That neighborhood lies uphill from the proposed weed shop. He is part of a small contingent of neighbors who don’t associate marijuana with a stigma and favor bringing new business to the long-abandoned space the bar once occupied.

“I believe that North Dorchester has a lot of potential, and with that potential comes a need for everyone to be open to things that have traditionally been frowned upon,” he told WGBH News.

Neither Jones Hill nor Hancock Street has taken an official position on the proposed store yet. Representatives from the groups said each would take votes later.

Virga said he and his business partners were aware of the building’s past when they approached the owners about setting up shop. He is still hoping to secure community buy-in.

“If we thought this was going to be bad for the neighborhood — the neighborhood where our business is already located in — then we wouldn't be doing it,” he said, referring to himself and his business partners. “And if it turned out to be something that was bad for the neighborhood, we wouldn't continue to do it.”

Virga will have a chance to make his case to neighbors on Oct. 1 at 7pm at a city-arranged meeting at the Strand.