Downtown wine shop/liquor store still in works

A five-year-old plan for a wine/liquor shop in the former Robinson’s building downtown is still in the works but may end up in an adjacent location.

1527 Main Street Associates, LLC entered into a redevelopment agreement with the Redevelopment Agency in May 2007 (.pdf), with a proposal for a mixed commercial/residential use, which might include an upscale wine/liquor store with “a food element” and residential rental or condo units on the second floor.

File photo

Liquor stores are not permitted downtown and would require approval from the Redevelopment Agency, according to its attorney, Frank Regan. Paul Taylor, an attorney for 1527 Main Street Associates, LLC and owner Peter Scarperi, requested in an Aug. 10 letter that the agency consider amending the Redevelopment Plan to permit the wine/liquor shop at 1527-1529 Main St. and 1537 Main St. as well.

Regan reported to the agency at its meeting last week that the property owner has interest from the neighboring Sovereign Martial Arts academy to move into the space because it’s larger and more appropriate, adding that the agency could act on the request by September. He said that Scarperi, who also owns Witty’s Liquors on St. Georges Avenue, still plans to renovate the upper floors as residential units.

The liquor license for the site must be activated by June 2013 as the state will not grant any more extensions, Regan said. Scarperi is still interested in developing a wine shop, only in the adjacent space in 1537 Main St., he added.

“Please note that the plans for the adjacent space are in the early stages and that there are no formal agreements executed by any of the parties at this time. Before those agreements can be finalized, we need to confirm that…(the) proposed use of the adjacent premises would be acceptable to the agency,” Taylor said in his Aug. 10 letter.

The 2007 redevelopment agreement included certain restrictions on the liquor store/wine shop, including not advertising as being a “discount liquor store,” prohibiting sale of single-serving “airplane” bottles as well as the sale of individual cans or bottles of beer for consumption off-site, and not providing carts or baskets for transportation of quantities of alcohol off site.

The 1527 Main St. site (Block 320, Lot 7) has an annual tax bill of about $11,000 and last changed hands in January 2005 for $695,000, according to property records.

8 thoughts on “Downtown wine shop/liquor store still in works”

  1. i know what they are doing here. they dont want undesirables downtown so they wont sell booze that will attract them. the problem is the undesirables walk right past my house and buy there goods on st. george ave. they need to isolate these folks by opening stores where they live because it has turned my neighborhood into a uncomfortable place. i hear profanity laced yelling at least 7 times a day, actually 14 times if you take into consideration they have to walk past my house again to get home. they constantly stop to bum a cigarette or to see if i have any metal they can have. you want to fix rahway ? there is your biggest problem. get rid of this and the city will flourish, if not were all going to leave. ten grand in taxes and i have homeless people begging me for things right in front of my house on a daily basis. go ahead and fix that samson. i dont think you will because we are just tax payers after all.

  2. It seems like a perfectly good idea to prohibit the sale of "airplane" size bottles."They need to isolate these folks by opening stores where they live…"Who's "they" to open these stores, the city? That doesn't sound realistic. Have you tried calling the police or someone in the city (ward council rep?) about the noise problems?

  3. yes the city. if they would issue the licenses the stores would open. they issued a new license for the beverage shop owners. all the way out on the outskirts of town heading towards metro park. they should have opened it across the street from grover cleveland school. honestly, what could the city council possibly do to help with an issue like this ? opening stores over there would work. or ban section 8. which would you say is more likely ?

  4. yes the city. if they would issue the licenses the stores would open. they issued a new license for the beverage shop owners. all the way out on the outskirts of town heading towards metro park. they should have opened it across the street from grover cleveland school. honestly, what could the city council possibly do to help with an issue like this ? opening stores over there would work. or ban section 8. which would you say is more likely ?

  5. Bob, I'm not sure I understand. You want to put a liquor store across the street from an elementary school? Technically, it's the Alcohol Beverage Control board that approves liquor licenses. The three members are appointed by the mayor with consent by City Council, so there's input to some degree from the governing body in that way, I suppose.

  6. yup, right across the street ! im just kidding about that. but over there somewhere. i just had a bunch of undesirables staggering past my house yesterday with bottle shaped brown bags in their hands. i wonder what was in those bags ? probably wasnt laundry detergent or shampoo. i guess i could have checked after one of them smashed it in the middle of the street 200 feet past my house as they yelled like wild animals walking down the street. im sure my new nyc neighbors are going to love that. im sorry mark but there is no defense for this ongoing behavior. i fully understand the need to keep the trash out of downtown but that doesnt make it right infecting previously good parts of town. im not from nyc. im born and raised here so i know the city dynamics well.

  7. The building might be better utilized as a small department store. H&M (men and womens clothing, Forever 21 (teens), and APPLE store…something to make a younger crowd or family want to visit the area. Sometimes it is good to have a local store so you don't have to trek to the mall. It would also be nice as a fine wine liquor store. Sometimes dry towns shut down liquor stores at a certain time..that might also eliminate some of the problems you speak about.. As far as idiots walking around acting like idiots maybe more police presence will alleviate that problem.

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