The Holyoke Redevelopment Authority (HRA) recently completed its guidelines and is now ready to review and approve restaurant concepts in order for businesses to compete for the thirteen additional liquor licenses located specifically within the four neighborhoods that comprise the Center City of Holyoke’s Urban Renewal Plan.
“This approval by the HRA board signifies the launch of the Center City Liquor License program, giving us another valuable tool to promote new business opportunities that will complement our downtown area, and allows interested parties to apply for a license right now,” said Marcos A. Marrero, Director of Planning & Economic Development for the City of Holyoke.
The program is possible through the “Act Authorizing the City of Holyoke to Issue Additional Liquor Licenses”, which was requested of the State in 2013 by the Mayor and the City Council as a home rule petition. After receiving approval from the State legislature, the bill was officially signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick on August 21, 2014. The Act stipulates that the City of Holyoke, through its License Board, shall restrict these licenses to restaurants “who have provided a development and restaurant concept, menu and seating chart reviewed and approved by the Holyoke Redevelopment Authority.”
“Creating and implementing this program along with the Council and our State delegation has been a significant priority of my Administration over the past year,” Mayor Alex Morse commented. “I thank Representative Vega for introducing the order during his time as a City Councilor and for working with us to craft the legislation, in addition to thanking the HRA Board and staff for seeing it through. I look forward to working with restaurateurs interested in setting up shop in Holyoke.”
Understanding that the licenses are designed to attract restaurants to downtown Holyoke, the HRA designed criteria that define the evaluation of restaurant concepts in alignment with the City’s Urban Renewal Plan. Applicants will be evaluated by their commitment to operate a full-service restaurant including evening and weekend hours, the creation of employment opportunities for Holyoke residents, the experience of the managerial and culinary staff, and anticipated plans for redevelopment to property located in downtown Holyoke. Obtaining HRA approval of a restaurant concept is a requisite of completing the evaluation process with the License Board, which issues the liquor licenses as standard protocol.
Approved applicants will be subject to a one time HRA fee of $10,000 as well as the standard local and state fees. The HRA fee will be used to fund other economic development projects within the Urban Renewal Plan area.
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