Each area of the law comes with its own specific nuances. Alcohol remains one of the most regulated products in the world. Governing laws and rules are very strict and vigorously enforced at the federal and state levels and across local jurisdictions. Therefore, if you are selling or leasing real estate to a commercial client that plans to sell alcohol, you need to be aware of some things so you can help them succeed. Here are three things commercial real estate brokers need to know before working with clients that plan to sell alcohol.
Type of License
The property search process should start with a series of questions aimed at identifying any regulatory obstacles a potential buyer or tenant could encounter with their business plans. In order to better serve your commercial clients, ask some questions about the specifics of their intended business. This question and answer session can help identify intended business goals specific to alcohol sales and service. The more information you can provide up front before they rent or purchase the property, the better. You create credibility and trust with clients when you go that extra mile and have valuable information that they need.
First, learn about your client’s business! Are they intending to sell and serve beer and wine only or does the intended concept include full liquor sales? Will food be cooked and served on-site? Florida law offers a variety of licensing options for both establishments serving beer and wine or full bar concepts. However, regulations and qualification standards vary greatly. Keep in mind that some alcohol licenses must be purchases on the open market from an existing owner and can be costly. Additional permitting from other state and local government agencies may also be required for intended food service and/or entertainment.
Investigate Zoning Laws
Aside from identifying the potential buyer or tenant’s intended alcohol service operations, note that each geographic location has specific zoning laws for residential, commercial, and alcohol-related uses. Therefore, extensive zoning and land use due diligence is necessary to confirm the types of business that can operate at the prospective property and any alcohol service operational regulations that may impact business plans.
Zoning laws vary by county and city. Accordingly, contacting your local zoning officials is a good first step in investigating approved land uses and alcohol sales privileges that may attach to any property. All zoning due diligence should be completed prior to entering into any transactional agreements or commitments.
Consider the Timeline
Another important factor to consider for any potential commercial property buyer or tenant is anticipated business opening timelines. Both landlords and tenants have a vested interest in profits rolling in so opening timelines should be a key factor in review of intended business plans, required licensing, and zoning regulations. Keep in mind that many government agencies are still struggling with workforce shortages and general pre-pandemic build-out and permitting timelines may be greatly extended or delayed.
Alcohol Regulatory & Real Estate Support
If you have additional questions about how you can better support your commercial real estate clients, contact Spiritus Law today for counseling. Our team includes real estate and alcohol regulatory attorneys providing comprehensive advice for commercial property owners and tenants engaged in retail and entertainment businesses including the production, sale and service of alcohol beverages.