Entertainment Center's Liquor License Transfer OK'd
On Aug. 15, Lower Saucon Township Council approved a request by Frank Hospitality Saucon LLC for a liquor license transfer. The license will be used by a bowling-themed entertainment center the company plans to open in a former movie theater.
Over the impassioned objections of a township resident, Lower Saucon Township Council unanimously voted to allow the intermunicipal transfer of a liquor license from within the city of Easton to Frank Hospitality Saucon LLC Aug. 15.
The company, which is part of the Frank Family Entertainment Group, plans to open a bowling-themed dining and entertainment complex called "Revolutions" in the former Regal Cinemas multiplex on Route 378 this fall.
The building that will house the complex is owned by Joseph Posh, a Bethlehem Township developer who bought it when Regal closed in the summer of 2011.
Suzette Califano, of W. Raders Lane, lives adjacent to the building and was the only person to publicly oppose the requested transfer.
In spite of reassurances from Frank representatives that adequate safeguards will be in place to help prevent issues such as underage drinking and intoxication to excess, Califano questioned the emphasis being placed on alcohol as part of the business model.
After holding up printouts that she said detailed records of DUI arrests by Lower Saucon Township police, Califano asked council members, "Is this what we want in Lower Saucon?"
"We have Yianni’s Tavern. We have Starters Pub. We have Belmont Inn that’s up for sale," she said, referring to other nearby establishments that serve alcohol. "I’m sorry.... I’d like to see a bowling alley and entertainment center without liquor. We don’t need it."
Califano questioned whether the locally owned Starters, which will share a parking lot with Revolutions, could "be pushed out of business because of these people who come from out of state."
The Frank Family Entertainment Group is based in Jupiter, Fla., and Atlantic City, N.J., according to the Revolutions Entertainment website.
Califano also told council members she believes the new entertainment center and the problems she claimed it will bring will negatively affect her property value as well as the tax burden shared by local residents.
“You know what’s going to happen? We’re going to need more police and our taxes are going to go up. I pay a lot in taxes,” she said.
However, tax revenue from commercial real estate is exactly what's needed by the township, Califano was told.
"We had a non-alcohol establishment there and it went out of business," council vice president Tom Maxfield said, referring to Regal. "Nobody’s benefiting from that empty building sitting there. We’re losing tax money."
Councilman David Willard agreed.
“We’re very happy to see a commercial business coming into that space,” he said. "Speaking for me, I’ll be there."
And council president Glenn Kern assured Califano that Lower Saucon Township police will remain "vigilant" when it comes to the enforcement of alcohol laws.
Councilwoman Priscilla deLeon said Califano's reports of problems related to the use of an access road that runs behind the shopping center will be looked at.
According to a Frank representative who spoke at the meeting, the entertainment center will have hours of operation similar to those of a movie theater.
Frank opted not to make first-run movies part of the equation here because of the Saucon Square shopping center's proximity to the successful Rave multiplex at the nearby Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley in Upper Saucon Township, the representative said.
“It’s not the bowling alleys of old and we’ve found they’ve been extremely well-received,” he said of the Revolutions centers, which can be found in Florida and South Carolina but will be something new in the Lehigh Valley.
“Hopefully this’ll be the seed for the growth of the rest of that complex,” Kern said.