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Liquor License Request for Acorn Corner Before Council

"Speakeasy" themed club planned for restored downtown landmark

Kent City Council will hear a request for a liquor license transfer this week for the second time in as many months.

The developer of Acorn Corner and the owners proposing a new bar, The Secret Cellar, in the restored building's basement will ask council members Wednesday to sign off on a trex liquor license transfer.

Kent has existing regulations for allowing the transfer of liquor licenses via Ohio's "Trex" liquor license transfer process into the city, but The Secret Cellar fails to meet two of the three core regulations. Council has the authority to grant variances to permit trex transfers in cases where businesses fail to meet the requirements.

The proposed new wine and beer bar would feature a speakeasy, 1920s theme with seats for 140, according to a memo from the city manager's office to council. 

The bar falls short of the size requirement for a trex transfer, as the city calls for 4,000 square feet of space and the new bar is expected to be about 3,000 square feet.

The city also stipulates that, to allow a trex transfer, alcohol sales can't account for more than 25 percent of total sales. The Secret Cellar projects alcohol and food sales to be split at 48.5 percent with private rental fees accounting for the remainder.

Secret Cellar does meet, and even exceeds, the city's dollar investment requirement of $750,000. Combined investments in the bar space between the building developer, Genghis Properties, the bar owner and other investors is more than $1 million.

The restored Acorn Corner opened to the public last month and includes first-floor anchor tenant Buffalo Wild Wings.

The liquor license request comes as council debates whether or not to change its trex regulations and as other bars look to move into Kent.

Earlier this month, council voted to approve a trex transfer for a new wine bar in the Kent Stage building but later reversed that decision.

RELATED COVERAGE:

  • Wine Bar Liquor License Delayed
  • City Expects More Liquor License Transfer Requests
  • Council Considers Changes to TREX Liquor License Requirements
Chris (Kit) Myers April 30, 2013 at 10:14 AM
Since the city stipulates that alcohol sales can't exceed more than 25 percent of total sales, I assume the city periodically audits the books of the TREX transfer bars and is prepared to revoke the licenses of those not in compliance. How often are these audits conducted? Who pays for the audits? If the city grants a variance where the proposed alcohol to food sales are almost twice the allowed alcohol amount, it once again will shout to the world what a farce this whole thing is. I thought the bar owner, which in my mind is the one receiving the license to sell alcohol, has to make a $750,000 investment. I had no idea that the money the building developer invested counted toward that amount. Who, in this instance, will receive the license? Will it be the bar owner? The building investor? Both? Am I missing something here? Is the bar owner a successful business person and a graduate of Roosevelt? No no! I won't go there! I am just so confused. Perhaps I really should consider moving to Hartville...
Trans Plant April 30, 2013 at 11:36 AM
"...a graduate of Roosevelt?" A new level of complaining.
Chris (Kit) Myers April 30, 2013 at 11:46 AM
No, just a tongue-in-cheek reference to the last request for a TREX transfer.
Debra-Lynn Hook April 30, 2013 at 12:13 PM
How old are these laws? Sounds like something from Prohibition Days.
Dave April 30, 2013 at 12:58 PM
Yes! Move to Hartville!
Amanda April 30, 2013 at 03:21 PM
I agree with you Debra! IMO, the city has really shot itself in the foot with these new restrictions. We should be able to trust that wise decisions will be made as to which businesses are allowed downtown and it should not be limited to those with lots of cash to throw around (and if wise decisions are not made, ultimately the consumer decides by giving or not giving their business to a retail store.) How about cultivating small business ventures and new ideas from within the community? Instead we're limiting ourselves to chains and losing some of the small town charm Kent once had.
Chris (Kit) Myers April 30, 2013 at 03:51 PM
Dave, your comment , "Yes!" Move to Hartville!" is the type of comment made by fools who are incapable of using the language for reasonable discussion or argument. There seem to be a lot of you around Kent.
Colleen Thorndike April 30, 2013 at 04:07 PM
What kind of licenses do Riverside Wine and 101 Bottles have? Both of these sell beer/wine retail and on premises. I'm not sure about 101 Bottles, but Riverside does have a small food menu as well. Couldn't this new wine bar apply for a similar license as these two established businesses have? I'm assuming that the wine bar would also have some retail sales---if you find a wine you like, you may buy a bottle to take home.
Matt Fredmonsky April 30, 2013 at 06:16 PM
State legislators created the trex liquor license transfer process in March 2012. Kent adopted its local regulations, which adhere largely to the state process, in September 2012.
Teresa K. May 01, 2013 at 03:13 AM
Chris: instead of moving, a better solution would be to walk - don't drive-downtown and go bar hopping. Actually, it will all make more sense if one is drunk and can appreciate how needed the trex transfers are. Cheers!
Dave May 01, 2013 at 12:33 PM
You want a reasonable discussion or argument yet you insist on slinging insults to me and others. I merely seconded the suggestion you made in your post while you thought it was necessary to name call. My how professional and mature you are to fan the flames of responsible community discussion!
Chris (Kit) Myers May 01, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Oh, Dave No-last-name. You are so funny!
Matt Fredmonsky May 01, 2013 at 12:57 PM
Let's try and stick to the issues and drop the personal attacks. It's a topic worthy of discussion.
FillerUp May 02, 2013 at 02:38 AM
Looks like Dave is quite capable of using the language for an articulate discussion. Amanda - what's wrong with chains? Many of them are locally owned by people who live in your community. Just because they are a franchise doesn't mean that we should shut them out. Please do a little research first before discounting "chains"; you may be doing damage to a locally owned business.

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