If everything goes according to plan, Moorestown could be counting its millions from the sale of liquor licenses before the end of the summer.
Following a meeting with PREIT representatives last week, Moorestown Mayor John Button said the Moorestown Mall owner said it would be ready to purchase four licenses, at $1 million a pop, by July 9.
“They sat across from us and pledged their commitment again,” the mayor said.
Though the township is in the midst of fighting a lawsuit with the owners of the East Gate Square shopping center—who have claimed the restriction of the issuance of licenses to the mall is illegal—township attorney Thomas Coleman explained the suit would not prevent the township from selling licenses to PREIT.
The mall owner has expressed interest in four of the six potential licenses (one for every 3,000 residents; Moorestown’s population being just under 21,000), leaving two licenses left over for East Gate or whoever else might be interested—should the township lose the lawsuit, Coleman said.
He also explained if Judge Ronald Bookbinder does rule in East Gate’s favor, it would render the township’s mall liquor restriction moot, opening up the possibility for alcohol sales anywhere in town. In that case, Coleman said he would advise council to establish an ordinance restricting licenses to the SRC (specially restricted commercial) zones in town—which would include East Gate, the Young Avenue shopping center and the Kmart shopping plaza, as well as the mall.
Council passed a resolution Monday night permitting the issuance of four licenses and setting a deadline of July 2 for PREIT to submit its proposal(s) to purchase them.
PREIT has repeatedly pledged—privately and publicly—to pay $1 million apiece for the four licenses, but Coleman explained, if the company’s proposal comes in below that pledge, the township is under no obligation to accept it.
Township manager Scott Carew, who met with PREIT along with Button, said the company “really gave us a strong sense of optimism.”
In addition, Carew said PREIT plans on attending council’s second meeting in June (June 25) to lay out its plans and may announce a few of the restaurants it plans to open at that time.