Great Jones Distillery Advances

Great Jones DistilleryOn Tuesday, Jan. 9th, CB#2’s SLA Committee voted 6-4 to approve the application for a 10,000 sq. ft. Great Jones Distillery with package store and tasting room and the Bourbon-featuring Bar/Restaurant multiplex OP Licenses added to it, with conditions. 

Conditions on the Great Jones Distillery included a Letter of Intent negotiated between 684 and 688 Broadway covering use of Great Jones Alley, sound and emmision standards with a remediation protocol and security measures for managing the entrance and exit of patrons.  CB#2 additionally recommended elimination of operable windows on the Broadway side on the second and third floors.  The latter may be modified to restricted window use (closing by 8pm and when booked events utilize loud audio).  It is also subject to Landmarks review.

You can read previous coverage here.

In spite of the Letter of Intent, there will still be continuous deliveries and cartages from 6am to 4pm Monday through Friday from Great Jones St., through Great Jones Alley.

Those who voted to deny felt the application did not meet the Padavan Law criteria for Public Good/Benefit – what it would add of a beneficial nature to the Community – if more than three licensed businesses operated within 500 ft.  For this location there are nine already licensed establishments.  We hope CB#2 will recommend that the State Liquor Authority hold required 500 ft. Rule hearing.

In a stunning reversal of a previous SLA/CB#2 decision that prevented a private professional club use at Zero Bond St., which would bring a new use to a Broadway Building’s retail contribution, the Committee endorsed the Great Jones Distillery’s public multiplex for the contribution it would make to ailing Broadway retail.  The leg they stood on for rejecting Zero Bond was Zoning which has, since, been approved.  This project will likely return either to CB#2 or directly to the State Liquor Authority.  We do have a stringent and extensive agreement with Zero Bond and substantive community approval for that project for its professional benefits.

So what are the lessons here?

Denying, outright, any liquor license application without thoroughly pursuing an agreement that adaquately protects NoHo Stakeholders from the most harmful methods of operation, is dangerous.  It provides the State Liquor Authority no guidelines upon which to modify it.  Like it or not, there will be more liquor-based venues and given what NoHo has for available spaces, they will be large.

Further exacerbating the Great Jones Distillery application is its use of the NY State Farm Distillery Law recently enacted.  This law provides, among other things, for a license to distill and sell alcoholic product that utilizes produce from NYS farms, WITHOUT COMMUNITY REVIEW and without the restrictions on density that the Padavan Law provides for any other Liquor License.  Selling includes the use of tasting rooms, bars and package stores – on premise.  We have asked our State Representatives to look into modifications on this bill that would require density and Community approval provisions.  But, as it stands, there is a very high probability that NYS Micro Distilleries will be popping up all along Broadway.  We know of one, already in the pipeline.  We would suggest that CB#2 include language recognizing this oversight in its resolution.

What’s Next?

There will be one more review of this application at CB#2’s Full Board Meeting, Thurs., January 18th at 6:30 pm- St. Anthony of Padua Church, 151-155 Sullivan St., Lower Hall.  The Full Board can modify the resolution.

  • You can request that CB#2 deny this application for the three additional On-Premise Licenses and let the Farm Distillery aspects stand on their own (this would mean that they could ONLY serve NYS product and not the full bar service menue they plan). OR, you could ask that at least one On-Premise license be denied.  Since their financials are dependent upon selling as much alcoholic product as they can, this would put a crimp in their operation.  It would also set a precedent for future similar applications.
  • You can make a case for the lack of Community Benefit in this application.  Since the whole scheme is dependent on destination patrons (visitors) and with the exception of filling a 10,000 sq. ft commercial space that the NoHo Business Improvement District favors, doesn’t attract likely patrons of other NoHo Retail.
  • You can request that CB#2 make a statement to its State elected officials to clean up the the aspects in the Farm Distillery Bill that encourage abuses – Large corporations taking advantage of what was intended to promote small business, not recognizing saturation in the placement of these Farm Distilleries, not providing mandatory Community Review.
  • On the basis of density, you can request that CB#2 deny unless there is a 500 ft. Rule hearing regarding the nine other licenses in the area and the fact that this application will be adding THREE more On-Premises in one shot.

We will be polling NoHo-Bowery Stakeholder Members for their input.  We also welcome non-member stakeholders comments and will pass them to CB#2.

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