Rumors of a liquor license transfer within the City of Vermillion have not reached City Hall, Vermillion City Manager John Prescott said.
“We have not had anybody submit paperwork to either transfer a license or to add a new license,” Prescott said. “We don’t have any of those pending before the city.”
In January, Maya Jane’s owner Todd Radigan told The Volante he was selling his liquor license and was advised to sell it for $125,000, but has not received enough interest in the license to pursue action with the city.
Because Chinese restaurant Chae’s closed this summer, its malt beverage and wine licenses are up for grabs. They cost significantly less than the Maya Jane’s liquor license, however.
Former Chae’s owner Jessi Wilharm said her business spent around $1,000 per year for the two licenses.
“We will probably sell our licenses to the new business moving into our old spot,” Wilharm said. “It’s not a huge transaction. They’re not opening a full-scale bar or anything.”
Prescott said that liquor license transfers and applications typically require public hearings, background investigations and other steps before action is taken by the city council.
Including Chae’s, Vermillion has two on-off sale malt beverage licenses currently sitting in limbo. Another former downtown restaurant, Raziel’s, has an unused license that could be used by another business.
The city can issue an unlimited number of on-off sale malt beverage licenses, but cannot issue another on-sale-retailer liquor license – which are what most downtown bars and restaurants qualify for. It includes selling hard liquor and malt beverages.
The state sets a limit that Vermillion has already exceeded, Prescott said.
Additionally, Vermillion citizens have twice previously voted to keep the number of off-sale package liquor licenses to one, leaving the Municipal Liquor Store as the only package liquor business in town.