Boost for local business
By Assemblyman Phil Ting
After a hiatus of more than 70 years, the state will initiate a lottery
later this year to issue five new, full liquor licenses in San
Francisco. This time, however, they will only be available to restaurants located along
underdeveloped commercial corridors in our outer neighborhoods.
This is an exciting prospect for the west side because restaurants
operating along Taraval and Noriega streets will be eligible to apply once application
procedures are soon finalized.
Prompted by legislation authored last year by former state Sen. Mark Leno, Senate Bill
1285, restaurateurs operating along specific corridors – also including Third Street in the
Bayview, Outer Mission in the Excelsior, San Bruno Avenue, Ocean Avenue and
Visitation Valley – will be able to apply for these new liquor licenses.
Compared with the $300,000 cost of acquiring a liquor license
on the secondary market, the chance to get a new license for around $14,000
could be a game changer for local restaurants.
The innovative aspect of this new approach is that such liquor licenses will be
neighborhood-restricted and will not be transferrable on the secondary market.
Consequently, when the holder of such a license sells or closes their business, the license
returns to the state for issuance to another eligible restaurant at the new license price.
And, in order to ensure a buy-in with neighbors, applicants must conduct local outreach,
including a community meeting, when submitting a license application.
The goal here is simple: spurring economic development and opportunity.
Outer neighborhoods need a boost. Successful restaurants can be a catalyst for
prosperity because they create jobs, fuel foot traffic for neighboring small businesses
and reduce vacant storefronts. This is why I am working with San Francisco’s
Office of Economic and Workforce Development on legislation to get the state to issue
more liquor licenses to restaurants in our outer neighborhoods.
My Assembly Bill 471 expands the number of these neighborhood-restricted licenses by
25, for a total of 30. If passed, five neighborhood-restricted licenses would be issued each
year until 2023. The bill recently passed its first vote in the Assembly’s Committee on
Government Organization and now moves to the Assembly’s Appropriations Committee
for further review.
To help move this bill forward, please register your support by contacting me
through my website at www.assembly.ca.gov/ting
Regardless of whether you enjoy an occasional drink or not, alcohol sales are vital to
restaurant economics. Restaurants without a full liquor license can struggle to keep their
doors open because they face a disadvantage in attracting diners. If we want
them to succeed in our local neighborhoods, we need to broaden access to licenses.
Our town knows how to eat, but restaurants outside the city’s center often struggle to
compete with full-service venues downtown. No wonder it can be hard finding a place to
grab a drink and a meal in the neighborhood. Let’s change that. With your help, we can
get this bill passed and signed.
Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the
west side of San Francisco.