A recently enacted law authorizes some mixed-use developments in Virginia to obtain an ABC license allowing shopping center customers to carry open alcoholic beverages purchased from restaurants in the shopping center while they shop. Unlike other ABC licenses, this law allows customers to roam around a shopping center, including in stores, with open containers. The purpose of the law is to encourage patrons to spend more time at the shopping centers and take advantage of the various businesses and events.
Only some shopping centers are eligible for the newly created “commercial lifestyle center license,” however. First, the “mixed-use commercial development” must be “a minimum of 25 acres of land and hav[e] at least 100,000 square feet of retail space.” In addition, the development must feature “national specialty chain stores and a combination of dining, entertainment, office, residential, or hotel establishments located in a physically integrated outdoor setting that is pedestrian friendly and that is governed by a commercial owners’ association that is responsible for the management, maintenance, and operation of the common areas thereof.” The license itself cannot be issued to the owner of the development, but rather only to the commercial owners’ association that governs it. The law further regulates who may sell the beverages, in what containers they can be sold, and what additional security measures need to be in place before the license can be issued.
If you have any questions about this new law or are interested in pursuing a commercial lifestyle center license or other license from the Virginia ABC, please contact John Rinaldi or Matt Westover. John and Matt represent a wide variety of clients, from individual business owners to national chains, regarding ABC licensing and other related issues throughout Northern Virginia.