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Liquor Licenses Attract $5 Million Worth of Offers

PREIT, owners of the Moorestown Mall, made good on their word to pay $4 million for four licenses, while East Gate Square submitted its own $1 million proposal.

Liquor Licenses Attract $5 Million Worth of Offers Liquor Licenses Attract $5 Million Worth of Offers

After months of pledges and public statements, PREIT put in writing its commitment to pay $4 million for liquor licenses at the Moorestown Mall.

Well, $4,000,020, to be exact.

Township officials unsealed proposals for five of the township’s six liquor licenses Tuesday afternoon: four from PREIT for $1,000,005 apiece, and a fifth from East Gate for $1,030,000.

Technically, PREIT didn’t submit proposals for the licenses, but rather two subsidiary companies set up by PREIT—Moorestown Beverage I, LLC and Moorestown Beverage II, LLC—because state law says a single entity (corporation or individual) can only hold up to two licenses, according to township attorney Thomas Coleman.

Coleman said four of the licenses will be processed immediately for PREIT (i.e. their subsidiaries). It typically takes between three to four months to process a liquor license application and award it, according to Coleman, who said he just handled an application in Mount Holly that took more than 120 days.

However, Coleman said the —which has to conduct a background check of PREIT before awarding the license—will work with the Voorhees Township Police Department, where PREIT has also applied for a liquor license, to expedite the process.

According to Coleman, PREIT has indicated it could take as little as four to five weeks to process the application. PREIT has expressed a desire to have full-service restaurants open at the Moorestown Mall in time for the 2012 holiday season. The company has declined to divulge the names of any of those restaurants until deals are finalized.

, though some had remained skeptical. Based on PREIT’s promise, the township’s proposal form explicitly states proposals less than $1 million would not be accepted.  

Those values are higher than recent liquor license sales in the area, including one that sold for $500,000 in Cherry Hill last fall. However, market values vary from town to town based on supply and demand, among other factors, according to John Hiros, of Bung's Tavern in Burlington, who sits on the New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association. He said licenses in Burlington County have gone for anywhere from $100,000-800,000 in recent years.

As for the fifth proposal, Coleman said the township will sit on it until East Gate’s lawsuit against the township is resolved. (which was enacted in accordance with the ).

“East Gate understands we’re not going to take any action on that application until the litigation is resolved,” said Coleman. He expects a decision from Superior Court Judge Ronald Bookbinder sometime in August.

Robert Fumo, broker associate with Murray & Associates, attended the unsealing of the proposals Tuesday and said, “It’s nice to hear those kind of values.”

Fumo, a Cinnaminson resident, said his company specializes in, among other things, the sale of liquor-licensed businesses (i.e. liquor stores, bars, restaurants) and wasn’t surprised to see Moorestown’s licenses go for such a high price.

“(Licenses) are always in demand,” he said. “They’re always marketable.”

The township received a $400,000 “good faith” deposit for each of the five licenses it received proposals for—a total of $2 million—which will be deposited in the bank and returned if any proposal is denied.

The sixth uncommitted license will remain on hold until town council determines a future sales date, said financial officer Tom Merchel.

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