This post has been updated.
By Miles Maguire
Rejecting a staff recommendation, the Common Council voted Tuesday to renew a liquor license for the long-delayed Morgan District project but with a warning that it could be revoked if there isn’t significant progress on the project before the end of the year.
The staff’s proposal to strip the license from the developer is part of an effort by the city to reclaim inactive liquor licenses. Traditionally the city has allowed license holders to retain their licenses during business transitions but has decided that it needs to have greater control over the situation.
“Right now licenses are being hoarded externally,” said City Manager Mark Rohloff. “When there is an inactive license, we want to keep it in a pool of licenses so that we can help developers when they’re ready.”
Peter Lang, one of the partners in the Morgan District project, persuaded the council to let his group hold on to the license by arguing that the development is finally moving forward and that losing the license might make it harder to attract commercial tenants. The developers have held the license since 2015.
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Photo: Developers could lose their liquor license if they don’t start construction at this waterfront site by the end of the year.