PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The License Board wants more information on the renovation of the former Johnny's Beach Club and has asked for an update in November.
Attorney Jeffrey Lynch, representing the owners of Barcelona Tapas and Bar Inc., updated the board Monday on the 87 Wahconah St. renovation but without a firm date of completion or marketing plan,the board could not give the project its complete blessing.
"It is nice to see that there is a plan but what can you tell us about when they expect that work to be done," Chairman Thomas Campoli said. "Can you sketch anything out for us to make us feel better about this?"
The owners indicated this summer that instead of opening the former Johnny's Beach Club as a tapas bar, they planned to improve the site in hopes of selling it.
Lynch said they had hoped to have some renovations completed in October but with contracts just signed, he felt a more accurate completion date would be in spring 2020.
"The work was expected to be done in October and I don't know what that change was," he said. "Whether it was plans that had to go back to the drawing board or a delay from the contractor."
He said permits are in place as well as architectural plans for interior and exterior renovations — which have already begun. The windows, siding, and the roof are set to be replaced.
Campoli said the original license transfer was allowed in 2017 and that this continued delay is causing him concern.
"We still don't have a sense of when this will be completed or how it is going to be marketed," he said. "I was just wondering how realistic that plan is opposed to this entity — with all of these balls in the air — maybe just selling the [alcohol] license."
Lynch said they do want to keep the location with the license. Without the license, the business would be a harder sell.
"I think there is an attractiveness to that place because how close it is to [Berkshire Medical Center] and the ballpark. It would seem to be a natural fit to have a successful business right there," he said. "I think if the license was separated from it, I think someone would be looking to get a license there again."
Board member Richard Stockwell said he was worried that it would just sit there after the renovations were finished. He thought it may be beneficial to open in some capacity to show potential buyers that the business is functional.
Lynch agreed and was confident that if the property is not sold by the time the renovations are complete, his client would open in some fashion.
The rest of the board agreed this was a good plan but asked that Lynch return next month with firmer dates and a clearer business plan if they are unable to sell immediately.
In other business, the board approved:
• A new lodging permit for Side by Side Assisted Living. Executive Director Emilie Papa said the facility on West Union Street will be expanded.
"Currently, we have assisted living with 43 residents and this new building will increase our unit size by 20 to a total of 63," she said. "We serve both veterans and civilians in the community ... this will be dedicated to just veterans."
• A change of manager for Zenner's Pub and a request from 99 Restaurants to change officers and directors for its annual all-alcohol seven-day restaurant license renewal.
• Extended seasonal all-alcohol package store licenses for Costanzo's Package & Variety and Wheeler's Variety.
• Extended a seasonal wine and malt general on premise license for Barrington Stage Company.
• An extended seasonal Wine and malt package store license for East Street Video & Variety and for Wohrle's Food Warehouse.
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