2010 April 20Liquor License Availability may be Key to Downtown Success
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Last month the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) raised the quota on the number of liquor licenses allowed in Lincoln Park, MI by 43, throwing open the doors for new restaurants and pubs to set up shop in Lincoln Park’s budding downtown district. The increase in the quota is a direct result of the application the City filed with help from McKenna Associates, successfully arguing the licenses are warranted.

Responsible bundling of liquor licenses is an effective way communities can spark interest in a defined downtown area, increasing pedestrian traffic and strengthening economic development and redevelopment. Additional licenses create opportunity for new businesses that want to locate locally but may have had to seek alternative locations in the past. Local authorities always retain the right to deny applications.

If your community is interested in attracting new development in your downtown, here are some things to think about when preparing to apply for an increased liquor license quota:

  • Would the additional after-hours foot traffic typically generated by pubs and restaurants be of value to other businesses in the downtown area?
  • Could an increase in dining and gathering places enhance your community’s ability to market itself to prospective residents, workers, and visitors?
  • Does your community have a designated development district (TIFA, DDA, PSD, or CIA)?
  • Can the development district demonstrate an increase in private and public investment in recent years?

In Michigan, the MLCC can grant a qualifying community one new license for every $200-thousand of public and private investment in the downtown district during the preceding five years. Similar economic development standards exist for transfer of liquor licenses in Ohio.

A successful application will likely pay for itself many times over. Consider seeking professional assistance to ensure your application is both technically sound and persuasive. For more info about liquor license applications contact Amy Chesnut in Michigan at achesnut@mcka.com or John Cieszkowski, Jr. in Ohio at jcieszkowski@mcka.com, or call us at 888.226.4326.