Tomorrow at City Hall, This Question: Does Lower Greenville Need Another Bar?

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Noticed this interesting item on the City Plan Commission's agenda for tomorrow: a specific use permit renewal application "for an Alcoholic beverage establishment limited to a Bar, lounge or tavern and a Commercial amusement" for a property located on the northeast corner of Greenville Avenue and Lewis Street -- otherwise known as the former home of The Beagle at 1806 Greenville Ave., next door to Good Records. Interestingly, the owner of the property, Madison Partners, is applying for the permit, as the property's currently for lease per Madison Partners' Web site -- "8,280 Square Feet & 2,500 Square Foot Rooftop Patio, Negotiable Rent."

For that reasons, among others, city staff recommends denying the application, and sources tell Unfair Park that the plan commission will likely heed that advice. The question is, will attorney Roger Albright, who's repping Madison Partners before the plan commission, ask for a so-called denial without prejudice? That seems the logical next step, as doing so would allow Madison Partners to reapply as soon as it finds a tenant. Otherwise, a straight-up denial by the plan commission would preclude application for a bar-use SUP for two years should Madison Partners finally find someone to take over the joint. Albright hasn't returned Unfair Park's phone calls -- for the last two months.

As for the reasons behind the likely denial? Well, says plan commissioner Neil Emmons, who reps the district, it's rather simple.

(Updated at 1:50 p.m. in the comments, to address a question concerning Chef Rene Peeters's recently announced move to Greenville Avenue and Lewis Street.)

With all the recent residential additions to the neighborhood in recent years -- chief among them Cityville, just across the street -- the city wants more "neighborhood-serving retail," rather than more bars. Such as?

"Cleaners, food, a cool re-sale shop," Emmons tells Unfair Park. "The property used to be, at one point, even larger than just the one tenant. It used to be a thriving antique mall, but liquor sales can be higher, so bars, banks and drug stores are very profitable, and the price-per-square-foot they generate trumps all."

Emmons also expects the hearing could be a lively one, as neighborhood residents -- and activists, ahem -- "will argue that it's a good time for a public hearing on whether Lower Greenville needs a new bar."

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky

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