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City officials approve Michigan theater's bid for special liquor license

A planned movie and dinner business will be allowed to move forward with its efforts to secure the special form of liquor license it needs to open in Michigan after the Kalamazoo City Commission unanimously approved its request, allowing the company to petition the Michigan Liquor Control Commission for the license. The firm filing the petition, which has locations in seven other states, would remodel an existing movie theater in order to add the facilities and staff needed to serve meals to patrons before and after films. The theater's operators say their business model has found success in a number of markets and is likely to do so again in downtown Kalamazoo.

Liquor licensing laws in Michigan can be quite complex, making the expert advice of a qualified attorney invaluable. For instance, municipalities in the state typically face quotas dictating the number of liquor licenses they can issue to local businesses, though the LCC sometimes awards additional licenses if they believe they will increase the quality of life for their communities. Officials say Kalamazoo is running out of the Class C liquor licenses the theater would need to open, with a number of licenses not in use despite being held by various owners, prompting the company to seek a special license from the LCC.

A representative with Downtown Kalamazoo Inc. said the business needs a liquor license because it is classified as a drafthouse with plans to "carry as many as 32 Michigan beers on tap." The theater hopes to obtain a special redevelopment district liquor license, which is only available to businesses that meet certain criteria and have invested in the redevelopment of the areas in which they are located. To qualify for the license, the business must spend at least $75,000 on the rehabilitation or restoration of the older theater and pay an additional $20,000 fee to the state.

Source:, "Plan for liquor license at a refocused Kalamazoo movie complex moves ahead for Alamo Drafthouse Cinema," Al Jones, March 21, 2013

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