Council would consider off-sale liquor license for $3.5 million multi-use plan
By Seth Schmidt
A travel center, fuel pumps, laundromat, car wash, and an off-sale liquor store are all part of a proposed redevelopment plan for the former Red Rooster restaurant site in Tracy.
Tracy Development Corporation representatives briefed the city council on the plan Monday.
Dale Johnson and John Lanoue reported that a developer is “close” to purchasing the property.
“They are fairly optimistic that this will work,” Johnson said, of the unidentified investors.
Estimated redevelopment cost is $3.5 million.
“For a large stretch of Hwy. 14, there is nothing of this magnitude,” said Johnson of the redevelopment proposal.
A floor plan given to the council shows a laundromat with 14 machines, two car wash bays (one automatic, one manual), the travel center, public restrooms, and the retail liquor store. Separate fueling areas for vehicles and semi-trailer trucks are shown in a site plan.
The potential development needs to clear two potential hurdles, Johnson said.
• A feasibility study that is now being conducted for the developers needs to confirm the project’s financial viability.
• An off-sale liquor license from the City of Tracy would be needed for the retail wine, beer and spirits store.
Would the council consider an off-sale liquor license application from the private group, Johnson asked, and would the city consider selling its current municipal liquor store operation?
The developers, he indicated, would continue to operate the city’s existing liquor store on South St., until the new Hwy. 14 facility is ready. The investors, Johnson said, would not want a lapse to occur, when Tracy was without a liquor store.
Councilman Tony Peterson expressed support for a privately-operated retail liquor store in the redevelopment.
“I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t want to consider this,” he said. The property taxes from a $3.5 million construction project would more than compensate for the potential future municipal liquor store profits, the councilman said. (Profitability of the municipal liquor store has been an issue in recent years. In 2016 and ’17, liquor store operations lost $73,000).
City Administrator Kris Ambuehl said that a process would need to be followed, if an off-sale liquor license were to be granted to a private party. License applications, would have to be open to all interested parties, and the city could consider granting more than one. “A municipal liquor license is not something that you can sell,” he said. The city would also not be “selling” its liquor store business, the administrator indicated, but rather its inventory and perhaps some equipment and fixtures.
For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.