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Crown Point City Council considers whether landlords or tenants should hold downtown liquor licenses

City of Crown Point

Who should get to hold a liquor license was debated by the Crown Point City Council Monday.

Last year, Progressive Dining Group — North Court, LLC was granted a "downtown historic alcohol beverage license," with plans to open a restaurant at 15 North Court Street. But attorney Jared Tauber said the company has since decided to rent the space to another operator.

"So we are here in front of you tonight to ask for your permission to allow a tenant that's going into their space to use the license. This is not something that's uncommon in the state of Indiana," Tauber told council members.

But council member Carol Drasga worried that could set a precedent for building owners to purchase a downtown liquor license and rent it out at a profit. Drasga noted that the "downtown" licenses only cost a thousand dollars a year, compared to more than $100,000 to get a traditional liquor license.

"I would want the benefit to go directly to the owner of the restaurant for success. I have no problem giving them the license at that bargain price of $1,000 a year with them coming up for renewal," Drasga said.

Others worried that state statute requires the license holder to be the owner or lessee of the restaurant, not of the building. Council members decided to hold off on any action until December 19, to let Tauber check with the state.