NJ downtown at stake?

Admittedly more commercial real estate than residential – but absolutely linked to NJ’s broader real estate market. Thoughts?

From the Star Ledger:

Liquor lobby’s on the rocks: Bill would let restaurants serve alcohol

On a recent weekday night, my friend Zeke and I were driving down Route 35 through Monmouth County.

“Look at this,” Zeke said. “There’s no one else on the road.”

He was right. Even though it was only 11 p.m., there were few other cars to be seen – other than the police cruisers lurking at every town line looking for speeders and drunks.

I suspect that explained why all the bars had empty parking lots – even that most sainted of Shore institutions, the go-go bar.

What we were witnessing was the result of an abject failure of New Jersey’s alcoholic beverage licensing system.

First the state tightly controlled the number of licenses so that the only way to make a profit was to locate the bars on major highways.

Then, after having made it impossible to reach a bar by any means other than the automobile, they decided to crack down on drunken driving.

I saw the results of that misguided policy at a hearing in Trenton last week. At issue was a bill that would finally free up the liquor-licensing system that had been turned into a monopoly in 1946 during the governorship of Wally Edge – whose name would later live in infamy when Bridgegate mastermind David Wildstein employed it as his nom de plume.

The first Wally Edge was a do-gooder. I suspect his effort to limit the issuance of new liquor licenses might have seemed like a good idea at the time, when the cities had bars on literally every corner.

The flaw in the system didn’t reveal itself until the mass migration to the suburbs began. The cities got to keep their licenses, but the booming suburbs were limited to one for every 3,000 new residents.

As a result, Hoboken has 140 licenses, or 140 per square mile. Meanwhile my old home town Toms River has a mere 45 licenses in 44 square miles, or about one per square mile. All but a few are in strip malls.

The obvious solution is home rule. Let the residents of each town decide for themselves how many licenses to issue.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli is trying to do just that. The Gloucester County Democrat’s bill that would create a new license that would permit only table service at restaurants. Shot-and-beer joints need not apply.

Why has it taken 70 years to propose such an obvious reform? Because the people who control the current licenses also control the Legislature. At the slightest hint of competition they show up en masse to inveigh against the free market.

They did so on at a committee hearing Monday on the bill, making the absurd argument that there are at present both too many and too few licenses.

The lobbyists argued that the proof there are too many licenses is that the number of bars has dropped from a one-time high of 15,000 to the current number of 7,500.

Therefore there’s no demand for new licenses.

Fair enough. But they then went on to argue that if the towns could start issuing new licenses, restaurant owners would immediately buy them up these licenses no one wants by the thousands.

That makes no sense, Rutgers Professor Morris Davis told the committee members. Davis, an economist who specializes in real estate, argues that development in New Jersey has been hamstrung by the state’s archaic liquor laws.

“If we’re going to encourage the revitalization of our communities, this seems like a key component,” said Davis. “Restaurants need liquor licenses to survive.”

The old model of locating bars in strip malls out on the highway is a proven failure, he said, not just because of DWI laws but also because strip malls themselves are failing.

Which is the free country? In Cuba you can buy a beer from a vending machine; in Jersey you can’t even buy one in a restaurant. Rick Shaftan
“We’re in a situation where we’re basically out of developable land,” he said. “The revitalization of downtowns has to be where we have growth.”

This entry was posted in New Development, New Jersey Real Estate, Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to NJ downtown at stake?

  1. Juice Box says:

    Who drives drunk anymoe? Take an Uber for now and in a few years your self driving Car KITT will get you home…

  2. Ottoman says:

    So what? In Pennsylvania you can’t buy beer in a liquor store.

    “Which is the free country? In Cuba you can buy a beer from a vending machine; in Jersey you can’t even buy one in a restaurant.”

    Morristown would be surprised to find out it doesn’t have dozens of active liquor licenses operating within walking distance of its downtown and train station. And where exactly would they be putting liquor licenses in say, Wall Township or West Orange where most people wouldn’t still have to drive to utilize them?

  3. chicagofinance says:

    This news seems to be related to FlabMax, but it doesn’t have Nazis…..

    Wife poisons husband’s Lucky Charms to avoid sex with him

    They’re magically delicious — and poisonous.

    A Nevada woman is on the run after lacing her then-husband’s bowl of Lucky Charms with drugs, WFLA reported.

    Andrea Heming, 49, confessed to investigators in 2015 that she drugged the cereal to prevent him from having sex with her while she was sleeping.

    “I wouldn’t use that much to kill him, but just enough to make him not have an erection,” she allegedly told investigators about the boric acid in her husband’s breakfast.

    Heming pleaded guilty to contaminating the food, but then skipped town after paying her $50,000 bail.

    Authorities have not been able to track her down since she failed to attend her sentencing hearing.

    Heming’s ex-husband, identified only as “Ralph,” is now calling for authorities to find his fugitive ex.

    “I was very surprised,” the man told KSNV. “I thought we had a better system of keeping track and holding people responsible.”

    Authorities say they believe Heming is in her native Mexico. If caught, she could face 15 years in jail.

  4. chicagofinance says:

    If one were to draw a Venn Diagram of the domains of clot & jj, this item would fall into the region that represents the cross between the two:

  5. D-FENS says:

    Restaurants should at least be allowed to sell beer and wine with dinner. Although I do prefer BYOB restaurants. The alcohol is where the get ya on the bill.

  6. jcer says:

    BYOB is a great feature of the archaic liquor laws in NJ, I say don’t change them. I like that I can bring the wine that I like or beer that I like and not pay 4 times what is actually costs. Good restaurants have no problems attracting patrons and making money on the food. Does suburbia really needs bars? I have always viewed the bar as a thing for single people or those living in a cramped place who need a comfortable space to hang out and drink.

  7. D-FENS says:

    Jesus Christ even the CIA has crappy data loss prevention policies and practices.

  8. ohww.co.uk says:

    Hello my friend! I want to say that this post is amazing, nice
    written and include almost all significant infos. I would like to peer more posts like this .

  9. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Chi, Musk sucking that govt tit once again.

    Life is so messed up. It’s always who you know, not what you know. Doubt this will ever change, people just can’t resist hooking up their friends at other people’s expense.

    I truly wonder what life would be like under a true free market, where the best and hardest working are rewarded. One can dream……

    “Taxpayers may be on the hook the next time a space mission by Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies Corp., Orbital ATK Inc. or another private company fails”


  10. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Playing right off my point in the last post.

    Drain the swamp, jerkoffs! Trump, thanks, thanks a lot.

    “”That’s not a get-rich-quick scheme,” Donald Trump Jr. insisted to the Washington Post in a story published over the weekend.

    Of course it’s not! Don Jr., Eric, and their father, President Donald Trump, have four years — maybe, God forbid, even eight — to financially exploit the American presidency. There’s no big rush.

    The Post story, and a similar one the New York Times last month, have explored where the Trump sons expect to take the Trump Organization now that its founder is no longer focused on it, being the president and all. (Their sister Ivanka Trump, who was also a top executive at the company, resigned after her father was elected.) In both stories, the Trump boys insisted that a Chinese wall existed between themselves and their father, at least when it comes to the family business.

    “There are lines we would never cross,” Eric Trump told the Post, “and that’s mixing business with anything government.” To the Times, Donald Trump Jr. said that using the presidency “as a way to enrich yourself is laughable.”

    But rather than dampen the fears that the president would line his pockets while in office, the two articles — and several others — essentially prove that the Trump Federal Enrichment Program is going full tilt.

    The ur-fact about the president and his company, of course, is that he hasn’t sold any of his holdings, and appears to have no intention of doing so. (The president “can’t have a conflict of interest,” Trump declared shortly after the election, accurately capturing the letter of the law if not its spirit.) So even if his sons are now running the show, any deals they do puts money directly into their father’s pocket.

    And boy do they plan to do deals. Although they have promised not to seek out any new projects abroad — well, except for the hotel in Dubai that just opened, plus the one in Vancouver, plus the golf course expansion in Scotland, as well as the new trademark right granted by China, and maybe a branding deal in the Dominican Republic — their U.S. ambitions are enormous.

    The boys envision creating a hip new hotel chain under the “Scion” brand, located in cities like Seattle, Austin and St. Louis. And the day after Trump was inaugurated, Eric Danziger, the chief executive of Trump’s hotel company, said that it was planning a major expansion, according to Bloomberg. The Post reported that the Trump sons have already signed 17 letters of intent with potential developers for their new chain.

    And where did the Trump boys make the contacts that are allowing them to dive so quickly into this new opportunity? On the campaign trail! “I met people along the way who would make awesome partners,” Donald Trump Jr. told the Post. Can you imagine?”


  11. The Great Pumpkin says:

    They just don’t get it. And the sad part is, they see nothing wrong with what they are doing. This is worse than career politicians; trump campaigned on breaking the establishment down and not being another politician. That’s why he was elected, and of course, he ends up being just another politician using his position to enrich the people around him. Thanks, Don!

  12. The Original NJ Expat says:

    Re:bars – In NH there is no such thing as a bar that doesn’t serve food. Every establishment that serves alcohol is required to serve food.

  13. D-FENS says:

    Yeah…he means Apple IOS

    If you’re writing about the CIA/@Wikileaks story, here’s the big deal: first public evidence USG secretly paying to keep US software unsafe.

    The CIA reports show the USG developing vulnerabilities in US products, then intentionally keeping the holes open. Reckless beyond words.

  14. The Great Pumpkin says:

    Here we go. Keep lowering the standards because you can’t find teachers now after badmouthing the profession for years. No one in their right mind is signing up to be a teacher these days and who can blame them.

    This comment gets it.

    “Bad mouthing the profession. High health costs. Low pay compared to what you can get in private if you are math or English or science teacher. LONG hours even though those that don’t teach don’t know that. Soooooo much extra paperwork that there never used to be, etc. etc. (A pension that folks are scare they put money into and may never see.) Should I go on?”


  15. D-FENS says:

    Aren’t the vast majority of IOS users in the US? IOS is something like 10% – 20% tops of global market-share I think….

  16. chicagofinance says:

    [The boys envision creating a hip new hotel chain under the “Scion” brand,]

    They are naming the chain “Scion”….are you fcuking kidding me?….so obnoxious……why not name it “Trust Fund Baby”…….how about “Fcuk You I Was Born Wealthy Hotels”

  17. chicagofinance says:

    Keepin’ It Real……

    Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz on Tuesday warned some Americans that their health care choice may come down to buying a new iPhone or paying for medical coverage.

    “You know what, Americans have choices. And they’ve got to make a choice,” Chaffetz (R-Utah) said on CNN.

    “And so maybe, rather than getting that new iPhone that they just love and they want to spend hundreds of dollars on, maybe they should invest in their own health care — they’ve got to make those decision themselves,” Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said a day after the House released a long-awaited plan to replace ObamaCare.

    He said the GOP version eliminates the individual mandate that requires people to sign up for health care coverage or pay a penalty.

    Instead, the GOP is proposing individual tax credits to help them purchase insurance.

    “We’re getting rid of the individual mandate. We’re getting rid of those things that people said they don’t want,” he said.

  18. No One says:

    Some people make the choice to never save for the future. Luckily for them there are tons of politicians who will make sure that other people will suffer the consequences of their decisions.

  19. Fast Eddie says:

    Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz on Tuesday warned some Americans that their health care choice may come down to buying a new iPhone or paying for medical coverage.

    Obama said the same thing. He also mentioned cable TV.

  20. Fast Eddie says:

    If you’re healthy, the easiest thing in the world is to make money. I don’t understand it. Whether you shovel shit or perform surgery, making money is so f.ucking easy.

  21. No One says:

    Who wouldn’t want to stay at a hotel named after rebadged cheap Toyotas?

  22. STEAMturd, playing the simpleton Anon says:

    So far, my call on the end of the Trump rally is looking quite prescient.


    Steamy Cankles Foundation says:
    March 1, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    For those who want to trust a janitor to their retirement savings, I am grateful for the recent bull market Mr. T has provided me. But my faith in his follow-through is little. I am now 75% large-cap growth and 25% Pimco Total Return Fund.

  23. Comrade Nom Deplume, Russian Hacker says:

    “Wenger Out” chant.

    Music to my ears.

  24. No One says:

    Every year Musk seems to get a stock boost coming at a time convenient to help raise cash from new equity, required since the car company bleeds negative cash flow. It’s pretty extraordinary to lose money selling $100,000 cars where the government subsidizes every purchase an additional $7.5k. But don’t worry, making money on $35k cars will be easier, right?

  25. Grab them by the puzzy says:


    Desperate attempts by Rs to patch together health bill are like using scotch tape to hold your tie in place bc u never learned to tie a knot

  26. Grab them by the puzzy says:


    An iPhone is about $600 without the calling plan.

    Two-years of chemo to knock down cancer is,

    I dunno, a bit more, I’m thinking.

  27. Grab them by the puzzy says:


    Every freshman Econ student learns that iPhones and health insurance are substitute goods.

  28. Grabbing Square says:

    If this healthcare mess is not sorted out. Then kill Medicare and let the geezers die.

    Sprycel/Dasatinib – 30 days supply -100mg – Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

    from simple web search with discount coupon – lowest Kroger $12,329 highest Publix $13013.20

    Don’t take it. Acute Leukemia within months and death.


    An iPhone is about $600 without the calling plan.

    Two-years of chemo to knock down cancer is,

    I dunno, a bit more, I’m thinking.

  29. walking bye says:

    yome, I like the kids backyard castle better..


  30. Fabius Maximus says:

    Oh the joy of Reaganomics still working its magic.


  31. Newbomb Turk says:

    4:08 So is every chick you ever dated.

  32. STEAMturd, playing the simpleton Anon says:

    Wait a second. First we are mad because ACA was repealed. Then we’re mad because the repeal is no different than ACA. Did it take too long to come up with the details? Or was it too quick and should it have been better thought out? Did Trump fcuk up and use an extra piece of TP after taking a sh1t this morning? I expect to read about how this proves he’s a client change denier. Cause that’s what passes for news today, from the Left.

    Desperate attempts by Rs to patch together health bill are like using scotch tape to hold your tie in place bc u never learned to tie a knot”

    How the heck did this fcukwad win anything, let alone a Nobel? I’ve had some really funny economics teachers. This guy couldn’t hold a candle to them.

  33. 3b says:

    Ahhh! Poor silly fab still thinking that one party or one set of politicians is better than the other. They are all the same grasshopper all the same.

  34. STEAMturd, playing the simpleton Anon says:

    Know what irks me about Krugman? Partisanship in economics.

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