Talks between the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and community leaders to move the Wine and Spirits store, located near the intersection of 41st and Market streets, are ongoing, according to officials familiar with the negotiations.
The PLCB, which regulates all liquor sales in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is looking to lease the retail space of the already-vacated Rite Aid located at 4237 Walnut St., said Dan DeRitis, owner of Apartments at Penn, the project's planned developer.
Spruce Hill Community Association Director Barry Grossbach confirmed that the community is discussing the move with the PLCB but cautioned that the talks are only in their preliminary stages.
Zoning has yet to be approved and will be discussed at Spruce Hill's upcoming community meeting on Feb. 28, Grossbach said.
PLCB officials would not comment on the project but said that details would be announced later this week.
According to DeRitis, the PLCB is "looking to find more refined, high-end wines and to get out of the selling of low-end wines and pints." They want it to be a "wine and spirits shop, not a liquor store."
The new Wine and Spirits store will also have parking, DeRitis said.
"We're looking to get out of the image that has been created on [41st] and Market," he said.
Community leaders have repeatedly stressed the need for higher-quality liquor stores in the area.
"Our neighborhood has suffered for it," DeRitis said. "We lose too many residents that go to Center City; we're losing commerce to other parts of the city. [People] go buy a bottle of wine or three, and maybe they'll do some shopping there, too."
An improved Wine and Spirits store is already in the works for the block of 4900 Baltimore Ave., near Cedar Park. It is expected to open in late spring.
If the liquor store does complete its move, it would be placed at the border of Penn's patrol zone, which extends from 30th to 43rd streets and from Baltimore Avenue to Market Street.
"Irrespective of the location of the Pennsylvania state liquor store, whether in its current address . or at the prospective [location], the most important safety and security concerns revolve around the quality-of-life issues that arise in proximity to state stores, such as panhandling, vagrancy and loitering," Division of Public Safety spokeswoman Karima Zedan said.
College junior Jake Kleinman said the prospect of a move may have its appeal because of its move away from an area that is perceived to be unsafe.
"I feel that for those of us living off campus, it's convenient, but as everyone knows, it's obviously not in the greatest location in the world," Kleinman said of the current store. "I have female friends who don't like going there after dark, [and] 43rd and Walnut might feel a little safer."
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