The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board today approved Willow Valley Communities’ application for a new economic development – restaurant liquor license, referred to as an EDR, at its board meeting in Harrisburg.
“I thank the PLCB for its approval, which will assist Lancaster city-based entrepreneurs in being successful in the Southern Market Food Hall,” said state Rep. Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster. “This food hall project is a partnership between Willow Valley Communities and Lancaster Equity that serves as a perfect example of what the EDR liquor license should be used for. I was glad to help this partnership throughout the PLCB application process.”
Southern Market, the nineteenth-century city landmark in downtown Lancaster at Queen and Vine streets, is currently undergoing a complete renovation that will transform it into a multicultural food hall and community hub expected to be open in early 2022. Ten local and diverse chefs, new or already established, will be selected as the food hall stand holders at Southern Market.
The project, a partnership among Willow Valley Communities, developer and operator of Southern Market, ASSETS and Lancaster Equity, the non-profit collaborative that owns the market, is committed to the positive impact and transformation of the Queen and Vine intersection and through this renovation seeks to bring more jobs, more business, and more gathering places for the Lancaster residents who live there, according to a statement from Willow Valley.
“We believe that within the Lancaster City community there are talented entrepreneurs who, when given the right resources, can create self-sufficient businesses for all of Lancaster to enjoy,” said John Swanson, CEO of Willow Valley Living, the company that manages Willow Valley Communities.
Sturla noted that the Southern Market Food Hall will create a physical connection between the downtown core and south Lancaster, while revitalizing an underutilized landmark building in a key location.
Sturla voted for the law that created EDRs in 2000, which allows a license to be granted for economic development reasons, even if the number of existing restaurant licenses in the county exceeds the ratio of 1 license per 3,000 inhabitants.