posted by Richard Gill
The change would allow restaurants in the building to serve liquor and to have a bar area, provided a restaurant applies for, and obtains, a liquor license.
The new zoning would not permit liquor stores or taverns unless special zoning revisions were to be approved through public process, aldermanic review and city council approval. It was agreed that such changes, while possible, are extremely unlikely to be approved. Ald. Hairston noted further that liquor licenses can be, and have been, revoked.
Some attendees expressed reservations about the change, but in general, the B3-5 rezoning was greeted favorably. My statement was that I believe the potential benefits greatly outweigh the risks.
Alderman Hairston and Peter Cassel of MAC hosted the meeting. Peter stated that the Del Prado is a landmarked building with grand ballrooms and public spaces inside, and that these will not be adequately utilized nor will they attract operators unless liquor can be served. He said MAC's hope is to have the Del Prado work in connection with other nearby buildings, to present an attractive 53rd Street gateway to Hyde Park, for people coming off Lake Shore Drive at the 53rd Street exit. He said this requires that the buildings be commercially attractive and viable.