BEATRICE — A downtown building that houses a brewery in Beatrice could become Nebraska's first indoor entertainment district if the city initially paves the way with ordinance changes.
The Mercantile Building at 310 Court St. houses the Stone Hollow Brewery, Smoke and Fire Cigars and a boutique called The Gorgeous Hanger. Zoning ordinances allow alcoholic beverages only in the brewery, so patrons can't carry any of those beverages along while visiting the other shops inside the building. Having the building become an entertainment district would remove the restriction.
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"They've just been having problems down there," City Attorney Abby Stark said at Monday night's council meeting. "It sounds like people want to walk around and see the rest of the building after they get a beer at the brewery, and it's kind of a big job to police everyone going in and out. "
Entertainment district designations already have been applied to outdoor areas such as the Railyard in Lincoln and Aksarben Village in Omaha.
Beatrice City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer said Wednesday that the Mercantile Building owners have expressed interest in obtaining the designation, but the city would first have to adopt ordinance changes. He expects to present the proposed changes to the City Council at its next meeting, June 17.
If the changes were adopted, the council then would have to rule on merchant applications for the district designation. If the designations were granted, the tenant businesses then could seek permission from the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission, Tempelmeyer said.