Liquor Licenses Attract $5 Million Worth of Offers

PREIT, owners of the Moorestown Mall, made good on their word to pay $4 million for four licenses, while East Gate Square submitted its own $1 million proposal.

After months of pledges and public statements, PREIT put in writing its commitment to pay $4 million for liquor licenses at the Moorestown Mall.

Well, $4,000,020, to be exact.

Township officials unsealed proposals for five of the township’s six liquor licenses Tuesday afternoon: four from PREIT for $1,000,005 apiece, and a fifth from East Gate for $1,030,000.

Technically, PREIT didn’t submit proposals for the licenses, but rather two subsidiary companies set up by PREIT—Moorestown Beverage I, LLC and Moorestown Beverage II, LLC—because state law says a single entity (corporation or individual) can only hold up to two licenses, according to township attorney Thomas Coleman.

Coleman said four of the licenses will be processed immediately for PREIT (i.e. their subsidiaries). It typically takes between three to four months to process a liquor license application and award it, according to Coleman, who said he just handled an application in Mount Holly that took more than 120 days.

However, Coleman said the —which has to conduct a background check of PREIT before awarding the license—will work with the Voorhees Township Police Department, where PREIT has also applied for a liquor license, to expedite the process.

According to Coleman, PREIT has indicated it could take as little as four to five weeks to process the application. PREIT has expressed a desire to have full-service restaurants open at the Moorestown Mall in time for the 2012 holiday season. The company has declined to divulge the names of any of those restaurants until deals are finalized.

, though some had remained skeptical. Based on PREIT’s promise, the township’s proposal form explicitly states proposals less than $1 million would not be accepted.  

Those values are higher than recent liquor license sales in the area, including one that sold for $500,000 in Cherry Hill last fall. However, market values vary from town to town based on supply and demand, among other factors, according to John Hiros, of Bung's Tavern in Burlington, who sits on the New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association. He said licenses in Burlington County have gone for anywhere from $100,000-800,000 in recent years.

As for the fifth proposal, Coleman said the township will sit on it until East Gate’s lawsuit against the township is resolved. (which was enacted in accordance with the ).

“East Gate understands we’re not going to take any action on that application until the litigation is resolved,” said Coleman. He expects a decision from Superior Court Judge Ronald Bookbinder sometime in August.

Robert Fumo, broker associate with Murray & Associates, attended the unsealing of the proposals Tuesday and said, “It’s nice to hear those kind of values.”

Fumo, a Cinnaminson resident, said his company specializes in, among other things, the sale of liquor-licensed businesses (i.e. liquor stores, bars, restaurants) and wasn’t surprised to see Moorestown’s licenses go for such a high price.

“(Licenses) are always in demand,” he said. “They’re always marketable.”

The township received a $400,000 “good faith” deposit for each of the five licenses it received proposals for—a total of $2 million—which will be deposited in the bank and returned if any proposal is denied.

The sixth uncommitted license will remain on hold until town council determines a future sales date, said financial officer Tom Merchel.

Alex July 06, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Chris, As you say the markets are vastly different. So much so that the license might not even be worth court costs? Either way we will know in just a few weeks regarding Moorestown. My point there is that we should get absolutely as much for each license as possible. We wont know how many bidders we can have until the case is decided, so why rush to award PREIT 4 of 6?
Chris Welch July 06, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Ed - "The business wouldn't work .." In your opinion.
Ed Nice July 06, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Ok Chris all of these fake posters drive me crazy and all they want to do is stir the pot, complain and never offer a solution. Lets just say licenses on Main st are a waste of time to think about but those at the mall and east gate and new acme are just fine.
Chris Welch July 06, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Ed- agreed. I think the other business in the SRC zones have a valid argument.
Chris Welch July 06, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Alex - the only thing I'd say in regards to awarding Preit 4 of the 6 is , maybe it's the right thing to do because they are sticking to thier end of the bargain. I believe all along they said they would buy 4 at 1 million each. I know business is business, but how about doing the right thing and selling them now that Preit has come through with the bids ?
Alex July 06, 2012 at 06:44 PM
I think it would be prudent to wait until all bidders are in the mix. Its only a few weeks for the decision. Let's face it, there is a good chance that more, like East Gate, will be added to the bidding pool. That isn't exactly what the voters voted on. They voted on liquor at the mall proper. If that changes, and it likely will, then there is no bargain to honor.
The Situation July 06, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Haha. Awesome. Somebody actually did REAL research! 200ft?? Done deal. Call it Snarkies200. LOL! LMAO!!!!! See you all at the bar!! Waste this!
Herbert July 06, 2012 at 09:27 PM
I am confused. BOOZE WILL BE EVERYWHERE NOW IN MOORESTOWN. There was a public vote. The vote specifically said, BOOZE ONLY AT THE MALL. The BOOZERS WON. Now, The BOOZERS want to take over the entire town with BOOZE PRIVILEGES. Seems like the law is being run over by BOOZE PRIVILEGES in Moorestown. How do you guys explain how this simple public vote has gotten so crazy? Why can't BOOZE in Moorestown simply stay at the Mall, as noted on the public vote sheet?
Ed Nice July 06, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Hey Herbie ask East Gate! They are the ones suing to change the vote not that I mind if its in the other SRC zones though.
Ginger Hayes July 07, 2012 at 12:07 AM
I will be a regular....and I don't drink. I love to grab lunch in a great pub. I would be all for a Main Street pub anywhere allowed. How often does a team after a game. ( especially baseball ) go to TGIFridays with multiple families or OTTs ...? Why not Little Acme. Isn't it better than as it sits now? All of that said, that reality, in my worthless opinion, is not likely in my residential lifetime.
Ginger Hayes July 07, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Ed, nobody really believes liquor will be on Main St anytime soon...or ever. It's white noise. The rational 99.9% of Moorestown isn't falling for it. Stop falling for the none sense which only turns you into Mr. Crazy snarky man. Save your passion for issues that matter. This issues is done. East Gate will have zero baring on Main St. So let the quack. Change the channel. This is a rerun. We know the ending....
Ginger Hayes July 07, 2012 at 12:15 AM
I understand... Rather than stoop (and we both know your knees can't stoop for long) stand tall and walk away....
Ginger Hayes July 07, 2012 at 12:17 AM
BEV you are a quack. I never said that. What I did say repeatedly is that is a great idea but so is a restaurant and whoever gets there first doesn't matter to me. I have use for both.
Donnerstag July 07, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Look everyone, gonna have to be perfectly honest here, it is what it is,ok? Preit wants these licenses, a gentlemans agreement of sorts. But, let's say Alex's scenario holds water, and east gate were to win, you think preit would back out ? This is a business transaction of sorts folks. If that of proprietors is looking into getting the last license, let them try, right? It appears Alex, Ed, and Chris have some valid points. But who has the right one is Antibes guess right now. Could town council lower the bid minimum on the last license? It depends, right? Who would buy the last one of east gate won? At what price ? Stay tuned folks!
Ginger Hayes July 07, 2012 at 12:30 AM
I agree with Chris. The bidding now officially starts at $1M the more players the better. This is a one shot deal. And for all the snobs worrying about the riff raff crossing our borders the more expensive the better insurance Jays Elbow room isn't gonnna relocate.
Ginger Hayes July 07, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Pardon the snark.
Ginger Hayes July 07, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Ed... Do you need ice.? Banging your head against the wall must be getting painful.
Alex July 07, 2012 at 01:00 AM
I took a minute and checked out Ed's link. There are several other SRC zones that would be eligible for licenses if Eastgate wins. Kmart Plaza, New Albany Rd and of course Young Ave. Why award PREIT 4 of 6 before the decision is even in?
Nats July 07, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Is that you Mr. Mayor? Wow you really put your foot down to stop this blog from continuing! Now I see what power our Mayor has when he gets serious about things. Is he still trying to run for reelection? What type of following can he bring to this election? Anyone care to update us?
Inner circle July 08, 2012 at 01:48 PM
Updates? It's a no brainer dude! Oh, so town councilmembers are floating around? So what if the mayor Or others are chatting, Interesting.. So like is there a town council Meeting this Monday, I mean, like, really? So where are the big cats like, home-brews , wasupin12, Sr, Terry, fallers, observers, talkers, etc? I mean it's sooo quiet on their side, is tax relief really coming? Hmm? Come on we "boozers" have it now, eh?
smith c July 09, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Ed, do you really think the former friendly's is worth $850K? really? Have seen that facility and its not worth that amount of money. For a pub, major renovations is not necessary. Your ideas are welcome for the design of a proposed future pub. You want some skin in the game? Sounds like you are willing to offer a $10K? any others takers? Look, as Chris and Alex have stated to some degree, this can work. The parking and enterance could be a challenge. Perhaps someone may need to get a variance from our Zoning board? lease spots from that locations neighbors? But, of course that's up to the lawsuit outcome.
Townie July 09, 2012 at 10:57 AM
Instead of arguing about this and awaiting the next lawsuit, maybe counsel should attempt a revision to the plan as approved instead of being always on the defensive. I think if you asked folks if the east gate shops were at the mall, they would say yes. So instead of the constant argument, maybe we can vote again in November (I assume.....no knowledge of legitimacy of this plan). What we should vote on is the location limitation as one of distance from schools. We have an interesting layout in town of schools. What if the resolution were to pass that no liquor within (to be refined with facts.....) 1 mile of a school. Or 10,000 ft....or whatever works to include all of the mall, the shopping center across the street (Perkins) maybe Lenola shopping center, etc.....but would without question exclude main street (unless Roberts closes, OLGC is "re-aligned" by the Bishop, and the friends decide to move on after two centuries+). If it were presented as a refinement and would end the lawsuits, seems an easier answer than arguing and paying lawyers.
Inner circle July 09, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Townie, I think you need to speak up at town council meetings more. Some would think "the train has left the station". But while Alex and friends want to "wait" , and others have "good relations with the Monday night crew" or whatever, tell all of us at the meeting your plan. Should we make a amendment resolution to the referendum questions? Come tonight with a draft, and maybe someone would listen. Anyone?
There's Been a Leak July 09, 2012 at 12:45 PM
just received a text that townie does speak at council meetings who can forget him charging down the isle to bark at the mayor about time limits.
Ed Nice July 09, 2012 at 01:04 PM
Hey Townie what are council defensive about? The mall said they would buy 4 licenses for $1,000,000 and they did. Naysayers said it would never happen and the price would never be that high now its not high enough. LOL! If Eastgate wins who cares? It aint happenin on Main St but if it makes you feel better why dont you and the other DHReps on the zoning board introduce a law to do it?
Townie July 09, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Ed, I don't care about East Gate, but do you think that's the end game? I would expect other lawsuits. What do you do if you sell 4 to PREIT, 1 to East Gate, and then have people file suit against town because there wasn't an open auction for the licenses based on the revised interpretation of what was actually approved by voters last year? In all honesty I don't understand how counsel has the authority to move forward given the fact that what was approved by voters is challenged in the courts. If the voter approved direction is no longer as presented, should it be voted on again? I think the assumption "it ain't happening" on Main Street is open to debate given the fundamental flaws in the referendum. If what was voted on last year was solid, the East Gate issue wouldn't be open, and you would have 2 licenses unused unless PREIT opens something else on the Mall property.
Rob Scott (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 02:21 PM
I'll throw my 2 cents in here, based on what I've learned and been told (by people who know what they're talking about) throughout my coverage of this issue. Maybe it'll clear up some of the confusion, maybe it won't. I don't know. But from my understanding, municipalities can restrict the issuance of liquor licenses however they see fit. (This is complicated somewhat due to the fact that voters approved Question 2, restricting it to just the mall.) Of course, that doesn't mean someone can't come along and challenge that restriction. Lawsuits are filed every day. My (well-educated) guess is if the township were to lose the lawsuit to East Gate, it would restrict the issuance of licenses to the entire SRC zone, which includes the mall, East Gate, Young Avenue and the Kmart shopping center. East Gate has said it would be OK with that. And the township attorney has said—in the event they lose the lawsuit—he would recommend that. For a little more clarification on the kind of restrictions a municipality can place on liquor licenses, revisit our "Liquor Licenses FAQ"—http://patch.com/A-k3rp—and read the answer to the question "Is the limitation proposed in Question 2 legal?" Hope that helps.
Ed Nice July 09, 2012 at 02:59 PM
Question 2 said licenses were available in SRC zones with indoor shopping malls not main streets with churches and schools and not SRC zoning. What would it take to change the zoning on main to SRC to accomodate licenses if you are so concerned about the last one being put there?
life time resident July 09, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Ed, I am sure that you meant to say a retail (sales) license. There are plenty of consumption licenses within 1K feet of church's and I would assume schools as well. Charlie Browns and the Immanuel Baptist church in Maple Shade are less than 200 feet apart. I am guessing that Moorestown's licenses are consumption types and can't be used to open a liquor store anyway.
Delivery man July 09, 2012 at 04:50 PM
Funny mr leaks! Where's the hulkster? You're good on most of your leaks except that political ticket that you and friends were looking to see.. Button, Miller, and some other person. What happened? Why didn't that "dream ticket happen" what's the big political strategy for this fall any predictions?


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