PEABODY — Mayor Ted Bettencourt is seeking 10 new liquor licenses to be used at restaurants in the downtown and the Northshore Mall.
The mayor has asked the City Council to OK an effort to obtain the licenses, which would require a home rule petition to the state legislature.
Five licenses for downtown businesses would be part of the effort to revitalize commerce downtown, by bringing in restaurants that will, in turn, bring in foot traffic and benefit all businesses there, Bettencourt said. This comes following a redesign to improve traffic flow and make the downtown more attractive. He hopes to see the licenses go to “family restaurants,” he said, noting that there have already been inquires from people looking to obtain such licenses.
As for the Northshore Mall,”they obviously have more competition with the opening of MarketStreet in Lynnfield,” the mayor said, referring to the shopping center that opened recently just down the road on Route 128.
Northshore Mall manager Mark Whiting has suggested to city officials that several upscale restaurant chains would like to move to the Peabody mall if they could obtain licenses. Such restaurants would give his operation a competitive edge.
“And a healthy mall is good for our taxpayers,” the mayor said. “The Northshore Mall is extremely important to Peabody.”
The mall is the city’s largest taxpayer.
The proposal may meet some opposition in the City Council, however.
“I’m not sure I’m on the same page for more liquor licenses,” said councilor Mike Garabedian. “I think we’ve got plenty.”
An all-alcohol license for Foster Street Market was granted in September, but not without some strong misgivings. Councilor Anne Manning Martin asked at the time, for example, “Do we want a packy (package store) on every corner?”
Bettencourt said he is “not interested in more package stores,” but in all-alcohol licenses for restaurants.