By: Ashley Bergeron
On Sept. 11, the South Bend Common Council approved the expansion of the Riverfront District. This increased the District from 1,500 square feet to 3,000 square feet.
Since its establishment in 2012, South Bend’s Riverfront Development Project Area has seen an increase in business in Downtown South Bend. Therefore, they wanted to increase the size of the District.
Something unique about the District is the discounted three-way liquor license businesses within the District have access to. In Indiana, a three-way liquor license allows businesses to sell beer, wine and spirits. Typically, a three-way liquor license costs $60,000 to establish and requires an annual fee of $1,000.
By contrast, the three-way liquor license for Riverfront District businesses costs only $2,000 a year, without the establishment fee. The $2,000 fee is split into a $1,000 fee for the license and then a $1,000 community fee that is given to Downtown South Bend, the city organization that oversees the Riverfront District.
The bills that provide for the expansion of the eastern district area and western district area – Bills 51-23 and 52-23, respectively – were supported by local business owners who testified at the Common Council meeting on Sept. 11 about how their establishments would benefit from inclusion in the Riverfront District.
Mike LaCarrubba, owner of L Street Kitchen on Lafayette Blvd., recounted his discovery that his business fell only a few feet outside of the previous District boundaries. He noted the high cost for the three-way liquor license and told the Council about how increased business expenses on top of the license cost had affected his personal finances.
The new Riverfront District will include Mishawaka Ave. and parts of Eddy St., Portage Ave. and Lincoln Way West. This means local businesses like Franky’s Tacos will benefit from inclusion in the District.
According to the Downtown South Bend website, these are the requirements that a business need to require the three-way liquor license are:
- Located within the Riverfront District boundaries
- Focus of operation must be on a dining, entertainment or cultural experience rather than an alcohol consumption experience
- Beverages must be served in glass containers
- Patrons consume food at either a counter or table
- Must be a non-smoking establishment (exception made for upscale cigar lounge)
- Cannot be a private club, nightclub or adult entertainment venue
- No temporary exterior signage will be permitted; permanent, attached signage is required
- Establishments located within the District with an existing three-way license may not sell their existing license in order to apply for a Riverfront license. There will be a minimum 1-year wait between the time any business with an existing license sells their license and can apply for a new license.
- License holders must pay an annual community partnership or administrative fee to Downtown South Bend, Inc.