Break out the bubbly: Old Town liquor store lease renewed | ParkRecord.com

Break out the bubbly: Old Town liquor store lease renewed

Jay Hamburger THE PARK RECORD

Sales at the state liquor store on Swede Alley are increasing, City Hall says. Park City officials and the state's facilities division reached an agreement to extend a lease to keep the store at the location until at least 2018. Christopher Reeves/Park Record

Old Town residents can break out the bubbly.

Park City leaders recently renewed a lease between City Hall and the state’s facilities division to keep open the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control liquor store on Swede Alley. The Park City Council vote in favor of the lease was expected and the renewal did not generate interest from Parkites. Nobody from the public testified prior to the vote, and the City Council did not spend significant time on the topic. It was approved unanimously.

But the renewal is seen as something that is important to both the neighborhood and Park City’s tourism-heavy economy. The liquor store, located at 460 Swede Alley next to the China Bridge garage, is the only one close to Main Street.

State alcohol regulators operate liquor stores in Utah, and the other one inside the Park City limits is at Snow Creek. Wine and hard liquor is not sold in grocery or convenience stores in Utah, making state liquor stores like the one on Swede Alley the only places where they can be purchased with only a few exceptions.

The liquor store has been in the location since 2008. It replaced one that had operated on Main Street. That one was forced to move as a result of the expansion of the Park City Museum. City Hall and the state reached a five-year agreement ending this year for the 1,790-square-foot space on Swede Alley.

The renewal is set at $5.80 per square foot, or $10,382 annually. It expires in 2018 and would revert to a month-to-month lease if another renewal is not negotiated at that time.

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Jonathan Weidenhamer, who manages City Hall’s economic development programs and wrote a report recommending the renewal be approved, said the municipal government collects approximately $40,000 annually in taxes from sales at the Swede Alley liquor store.

The report indicated annual sales at the Swede Alley liquor store are increasing. During the 12-month period between mid-2012 and mid-2013, the report said, sales reached to approximately $1.7 million.

"The DABC Swede Alley store provides a valuable and convenient amenity for residents and visitors," Weidenhamer wrote in the report.

He added that it was "unclear if the DABC will retain a presence Downtown" had the City Council voted against the lease renewal.

The Historic Park City Alliance, a group that represents the interests of businesses on or just off of Main Street, is pleased the lease was extended. Alison Butz, the executive director of the group, said the liquor store attracts people to Main Street and is convenient. She likened the liquor store’s draw to that of the post office on Main Street.

"It is one of those things people visit," she said, adding, "I think it’s very popular."

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