The City of Glendale is awaiting its first business to move into the downtown area after designating it an "entertainment district.”
The Glendale City Council approved a resolution creating the entertainment district in June. City officials it will attract a surge of businesses to the area. The entertainment district runs along the Glendale Avenue corridor, from 43rd to 61st avenues.
The "entertainment district" designation makes it easier for businesses to seek certain types of liquor licenses.
Under state law, certain types of liquor licenses are prohibited at businesses that move within 300-feet of a church or school. State law allows cities or towns that create an "entertainment district" to approve an exemption to the 300-foot restriction on a case-by-case basis.
"An example that was given to me was a business may have wanted to locate that had a bookstore with a wine bar in it, that would have been prohibited to be within 300 feet of a church or school," said Vicki Rios, the budget & finance director with the City of Glendale.
Under state law, the 300-foot restriction does not apply to restaurants, but does impact bars.
"There were some cases here in the downtown where businesses wanted to locate here, and when they looked at it they were prohibited from locating there because there was a church already there," Rios said.
City officials hope to see a surge in economic development.
"I think the one message I'd want to say is Glendale is open for business," Rios said.
Most impacted by the change are existing schools and churches within the boundary of the entertainment district. According to the City of Glendale, 16 churches and two schools are located within the boundary.
"I think we just have to be more concerned about who's going to be moving in next door," said E. John Fredrich, the principal at Grace Lutheran School.
The school sits along the boundary of the “entertainment district.”
Fredrich told ABC15 he supports the push to bring more businesses to the area, but he will keep a close eye on what businesses are trying to move in.
Down the street, one business owner told ABC15 the “entertainment district” designation is a positive for the community.
"Hopefully more business is what I'm hoping for," said James Quintana, owner of Coyote Oaties, which sells cookies.
Quintana says he is looking forward to the possibility of increased foot traffic in the area.
"Bring more people down here to the area," he said.
Phoenix, Mesa and Peoria also have entertainment districts. Mesa has seen three businesses issued licenses under their resolution. Phoenix has had two, and Peoria has had one business approved for a license utilizing the 300-foot exemption.
When seeking the exemption, a business must still go through the City Council before seeking the license from the state.