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Mayor Walsh, Councilor Pressley seek additional liquor licenses

The proposal, which aims to support economic development citywide, would provide the City of Boston with 152 non-transferable liquor licenses.

Today, Mayor Martin J. Walsh and City Councilor Ayanna Pressley announce a proposal to grant the City of Boston additional liquor licenses as part of an ongoing effort to attract new businesses and restaurants, encourage expansion of current establishments, and support Boston's growing economy.

"I am proud of this proposal that will give our small businesses in every corner of our city a better opportunity to grow and thrive," said Mayor Walsh. "This balanced approach to licensing ensures neighborhoods historically disadvantaged by the liquor license process will receive their fair share of licenses, while also providing an option for larger establishments to receive licenses without hurting our small businesses. I look forward to working with the Boston City Council and Massachusetts Legislature to advance this important piece of legislation."

"This is the next natural step in our push to reduce disparities in neighborhood sit-down restaurants across the city," said Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. "I am happy to collaborate with Mayor Walsh to craft legislation that supports our neighborhoods in growing at their own speed and continues to support the development of restaurant clusters in our business districts that will be economic and social anchors. This City continues to grow, and this legislation is a step towards ensuring that growth is shared with all of our neighborhoods."

The proposal would provide the City of Boston with 152 non-transferable liquor licenses. These licenses would be phased in over three years (2017-2019): 

  • Ten citywide (seven all-alcohol licenses and three malt & wine) licenses a year, with no more than three a year able to go to the neighborhoods of Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and the North End each (30 total);
  • Five licenses (three all-alcohol and two malt & wine) a year, 15 per neighborhood over three years, for each of the following neighborhoods: Dorchester, East Boston, Hyde Park, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill and Roxbury (105 total);
  • Five licenses (three all-alcohol and two malt & wine) a year for Main Streets Districts (15 total);
  • One all-alcohol license for the Lawn on D at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in South Boston (one total); and,
  • One all-alcohol license for the Boston Center for the Arts in the South End.
  • Creation of "umbrella licenses" for development projects larger than 500,000 sq. ft. in the City of Boston, under which each individual operator may apply for a license to the Boston Licensing Board without impacting the City's current liquor license cap.

In 2014, Boston was granted legislative approval for 25 new liquor licenses per year, over the course of three years. While 80 percent of these licenses were geographically-restricted, the remaining 20 percent were eligible to be sold on the open market. In this proposal, 100% of the new liquor licenses would be non-transferable. This will allow the administration to continue to focus on fostering neighborhood vitality and economic development in historically underserved neighborhoods. New restaurant establishments throughout Boston's neighborhoods will diversify communities and Boston Main Streets districts, offer residents local, affordable options in neighborhoods, and provide entrepreneurs an easier entry point into Boston's restaurant market.

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