Central Market to Ask Council For Variance to Sell Beer and Wine Next Door to St. Mark's

Categories: City Hall, Dish
NewCentralMarket.JPG
The under-construction Central Market in Preston Royal, which used to be a Safeway, by the way. You can see the original walls from the Royal Lane side, matter of fact.
Used to be, a business situated too close to a school, church, hospital or daycare center that wanted to sell booze couldn't, except as a private club. But in the fall of '09, those rules shifted slightly, when the council said businesses bigger than 50,000 square feet could try to get a variance from the council. That was done on behalf of Big Boxes. And just two weeks ago, council rewrote that rewrite when it voted almost unanimously (only Angela Hunt was opposed) to lower that number to 30,000 square feet -- in large part to allow Central Market to sell beer and wine at its new Preston Royal location, due to open some time in "mid-winter." (I've asked for more specifics, given that it was originally supposed to be open "just before the holiday season," which is officially nigh upon us.)

Matter of fact, when it came time for the council to vote, Stephen Butt, senior veep of Central Market, came to the council to ask for the change to City Code: "Our company is in support of giving us the flexibility to build new stores and future stores within the city of Dallas," he said, "so we appreciate the council's support of our amendment request."

Ann Margolin, who reps District 13, was also very clear, insisting that the 30,000-square foot requirement was "still a very good size," and not to be confused with, say, "a little neighborhood store or a convenience store," to which the new rule would not apply. At which point she mentioned the Central Market going into the old Borders Books location: "It's near a school, but ... when this comes before [council] it won't most likely have a problem," as Central Market is "not a bad actor."

At which point Mayor Mike Rawlings said he too was for the amendment because "I appreciate organizations like Central Market and what they're trying to do in the city. I look forward to your being in Southern Dallas at some point. I think you can make some money down there."

We'll see when that happens. But this much is certain: At its Monday council meeting, there will be a public hearing about granting Central Market a variance at Preston Royal. Yesterday the meeting addendum was posted to the City Secretary Office's site, and it's right there -- Agenda Item No. 12:
A public hearing to receive comments regarding an application for and a resolution granting a variance to the alcohol spacing requirements from the St. Mark's School of Texas required by Section 6-4 of the Dallas City Code to allow a wine and beer retailer's off-premise permit for a general merchandise or food store greater than 30,000 square feet on property on the southeast corner of Preston Road and Royal Lane.
Update: When asked if there's a hard opening date set for the Preston Royal location, spokesperson Michelle Chism said no, not yet. She also sent along the following prepared statement sent elsewhere this week:
On Preston Royal, we're set for an opening mid-winter.it's under construction.we've had our chefs traveling up to NYC to visit Zabar's, Eataly and Eli's and a # of other cool places to look for the coolest, tastiest, most authentic NY Deli Offerings - from latkes and noodle kugel to fresh pasta and carryout offerings. We're having a lot of fun working on the new offerings for Preston Royal, really trying to match unique flavors to the unique neighborhoods and communities in that area. We want it to feel personal!
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21 comments
dfwrez
dfwrez

Now this cracks me up.  For the record, I am PRO-ALCOHOL because I think it's everybody's choice to drink...or not. 

First it was 50k for Kroger and now 30k for CM.  Now...I get the fact they provide jobs. ok. But when it comes to all the arguments for alcohol and proximity to 'protected uses', this is where I have the issue.  It's ok to sell beer and wine close to the school because it's 'upscale' and I can buy my over-priced groceries there?  Really??  Last time I checked, it didn't matter which income bracket people fell into...kids will be kids...it's just the ones in this area will have better stuff to drink.

There's a family owned grocery chain (since 1958) in Dallas that has one of its 6500sf stores located across from a school that has been trying to find a way to sell beer and wine and they can't - even though they were there before the school and the school had no objection & offered to put it in writing they had no objection.

There should be no law on the city's books regulating distance requirements for "OFF-premise consumption" of beer and wine, especially after the vote in November 2010. 

If the city just has to regulate a business that wants to sell beer and wine, have the applicant obtain something written and notarized from the pastor, principal or whoever, as part of the TABC license application process.   If the school or church or whatever protected use within 300' has a problem with it, so be it.  If they don't, so be it.    It should be on a case-by-case basis. 

Jason
Jason

1. I hope the mayor misspoke about Central Market opening in Southern Dallas.  Maybe he confused them with H.E.B.?

2. Is it me or is Angela Hunt turning into Eliot Ness?

3. Glad to hear Central Market going for a NY Deli theme.  I really miss the Cheese Shop and the other deli that used to be over there - was it called Wall's?  Used to eat both of them as a kid

Joseph A. Viore
Joseph A. Viore

So far the Mayor's commitment to Southern Dallas has been 900,000 tons of garbage. That is why students will be marching on Saturday. I'm sure the Mayor will also try to take credit for the recent Habitat for Humanity projects. Bottom line, Mayor talk is cheap. Now that you have identified the area as the city's garbage dump it will be even harder to get retail or other businesses to move there.

HolySheets
HolySheets

" I look forward to your being in Southern Dallas at some point. I think you can make some money down there."

The day CM opens a store in south Dallas will be well...NEVER. Not enough $$$ for their price point.Don't think mike.

G_David
G_David

I realize the new CM is pretty close to St. Mark's, but "next door" seems like kind of a stretch.

Montemalone
Montemalone

How in the world does the size of the store affect the sale of booze? And I hope the mayor and council hold their collective breaths until Central Market opens in South Dallas.

Dallas Diner
Dallas Diner

I'm for it, but the reasoning is flawed.  What makes a 30K square foot store more acceptable than a 20K square foot store or a 10K square foot store? I guess it is that we don't want to encourage those little mom-and-pop locally owned stores that are under 30,000 square feet?

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

Central Market, sure.

Then when Specs Liquor wants to take over another Borders / Barnes Noble location close to a school, the precedent is set.

OakParkStudio
OakParkStudio

No brainer to vote in favor of Central Market.

But, that hasn't stopped those around the horseshoe before.

Hope those hapless suit-crazy anti-liquor folks who keep trying to overturn the last voter's choice stay far away from this one.

G_David
G_David

"Over-priced"?  What is your definition of that?  If you buy something that you can buy in every grocery in town at CM, the odds are you'll pay less for it than just about any other store in town. If you're buying an imported cheese that you'll only find there, of course you're going to pay more, because the wholesale price is higher.  I find that I generally get what I pay for there.  And I also seem to get what I pay for when I go to Wal-Mart, which is why I don't shop there.

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

I have a feeling what mayor mike is trying to do is get HEB to finally build out an actual Dallas location in So. Dallas. My guess is it would be a Mi Tienda, which is their hispanic grocery concept...

Lolotehe
Lolotehe

Maybe Bolsa will get bigger....

A-nony-mouse
A-nony-mouse

It is a stretch. The strip mall property line to St. Mark's property line is 252', but CM is at the north end of the strip mall. So if you walk from the door of the CM to the St. Mark's property line, the distance is about 1,480'. Walking door of CM to door of St. Mark's is 2,450'.

Mike111112
Mike111112

It is to prevent the squalid little liquor/convenience stores that dominate parts of South Dallas.  I do not know if I've seen a 30,000 square feet place that was pre-dominately food sales, sold some alcohol, that was not a large well-capitalized firm.

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

Beer and wine only. I don't think Spec's business model works without hard liquor.

Titus Groan
Titus Groan

I think CM and Specs are different enough precedent's not an issue.

Mike3647
Mike3647

Just to clarify, it wasn't the crazy anti-liquor folks against the vote, it was the pro-my-own-liquor-store-and-nobody-else's folks.  Goody Goody, Centennial/Big Daddy's and Sigels to be exact.

They crazy anti-liquor folks don't have that kind of money.

Borborygmus
Borborygmus

What grew the squalid little liquor/convenience stores that dominate parts of South Dallas was the restriction of sales to a specific small area within the city. There was never any incentive to sell or improve the buildings because they had a liquor monopoly. As the surrounding burbs have gone wet, and beer and wine sales are being spread out (and removed from these liquor ghettos), you'll see some development. Because without the beer and wine sales, only so many liquor stores can stay open.

To be clear, you can be under 30,000 feet in size, you just can't locate close to a school, hospital, etc..

OakParkStudio
OakParkStudio

I stand corrected.

They're greedy bastards. Regardless, Dallas in 2011 sometimes looks a lot like a turn-of-the-last century burg.

cp
cp

Would be even better if the council representatives on all the sides adjacent/closest to Samuell and Tennison Parks could ever get together and come up with a cogent redevelopment plan for our area, Lorlee. Medrano, Davis and Hunt all should have a vested interest in Samuell but since it's on the ass-ends of all their council districts, none of them seem to care to make it a priority in their various administrations. Shame. 

lorlee
lorlee

It is already happening, thankfully.  I live close to the last wet area headed East towards Mesquite.  There are at least 6 that have shuttered of the about 30 that were side by side on the Dolphin exit and on Samuell and I expect more will close.  Wouldn't it be grand to have real development overlooking Samuell Grand Park.  Couldn't happen before because of the antiquated liquor laws. 

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