Plans for a new state liquor store at 43rd and Chestnut streets is currently a work in progress.
Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board spokesperson Stacey Witalec said the board is looking at that location for a new store, but has not signed a lease. The new store would replace Risqué Video, an adult video store, in the 43rd and Chestnut streets plaza.
Witalec declined to comment when a lease may be signed, as PLCB is still under negotiations with the landlord.
A Spruce Hill Community Association meeting on March 13 supported the project as long as community concerns are addressed, according to SHCA’s zoning committee chair Barry Grossbach. SHCA is a volunteer group of residents in the Spruce Hill community dedicated to improving quality of life in the neighborhood, the area from Market Street to Woodland Avenue and 38th to 46th streets.
SHCA also held a meeting on Mar. 5 where a “full house” of community members came to discuss the plans for and possible concerns surrounding the opening of a new liquor store.
Some were concerned that the liquor store may draw more panhandlers and loiterers to the area.
According to University City Review, Liquor Control Board District Manager Jimmette Bolden attended the meeting and said Philadelphia Police would maintain a fairly constant presence at the new location by making stops three to four times a day.
However, Grossbach said the general consensus from the meeting was that the liquor store would be an improvement for the plaza.
“We are a community vastly underserved by a wine and spirits shop,” he said.
“[It would be] filling a need that people were missing out. The [41st and Market] store was a neighborhood nightmare. It did not serve the community well, was not well-stocked and poorly managed,” Grossbach said, adding that the new addition may also bring aesthetic improvements to the plaza that include improved lighting.
Philadelphia’s Zoning Board of Adjustment would need to approve the move. The board is part of the Department of Licenses and Inspections and grants appeals in cases of zoning in the city.
Before being heard by the board, discussion is expected to occur at the “neighborhood level,” Grossbach said.
They expect discussion “to be held at the neighborhood level before it goes to the Zoning Board of Adjustment,” he said.
Chuck Bargul, District Manager of Risqué Video Inc. was not available to comment as of press time.
Risqué Video currently has four retail locations in Pennsylvania and three in New Jersey.