NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (June 22, 2015) -- Selling liquor in Noblesville just got a bit easier, thanks to new licenses to be handed out downtown.
The city recently approved a new riverfront redevelopment district, in an area surrounding the White River that includes its historic downtown square. By designating the district, it can hand out ten liquor licenses in that area to restaurants or bars.
"(They'll) definitely help a lot of small businesses," restaurant owner Matteo Dirosa said.
Dirosa, who opened his Italian restaurant downtown 13 years ago, found it difficult to get a license that includes hard liquor, along with beer and wine, because they're regulated by population and only a certain number are available.
He ended up hiring and paying a whopping $50,000 for the license.
"There were not many licenses in town so we didn’t have a choice," Dirosa said.
His story is exactly why the city made the move, saying it hopes to attract new restaurants to the west side of the White River, where a $6M park is about to be built and employers like Riverview Hospital are growing more demand.
The licenses will come at a fraction of the cost, only $1,000 each.
"It’s an exciting time for Noblesville because we’re able to take the downtown feeling across the river," said Bob DuBois, President of the Noblesville Chamber of Commerce.
DuBois called the licenses "an added tool," pointing out that local restaurants are in high demand in Hamilton County right now.
"People want to have (many) dining options available to them," DuBois said.
Noblesville's Director of Economic Development, Judi Johnson, said that the city will accept applications and that it did not expect to grow any kind of bar district, like Broad Ripple.
"It’s a requirement that it’s more of a dining and entertainment venue, not just a place that serves alcohol," Johnson said.
Dirosa added that he already knew restaurant owners downtown who hoped to get the licenses. When he opened his business, he said there was a noticeable hit in business from customers who dined with friends that preferred mixed drinks or cocktails.
"When we purchased the license it was really a big hit because now we have a full bar," Dirosa said.