Canal Winchester officials see the two entertainment districts that City Council approved earlier this month as a way to bring in more business.

Canal Winchester officials see the two entertainment districts that City Council approved earlier this month as a way to bring in more business.

Local development expert Chris Boring offers a wider view: "This will elevate Canal Winchester as a regional alternative," he said.

The Diley Road Community Entertainment District and the Gender Road-Route 33 Community Entertainment District "are being created to allow the city the potential for additional eating establishments that require liquor licenses, such as steakhouses and other national chain restaurants found in neighboring communities," Canal Winchester Mayor Michael Ebert said.

"Without the creation of the entertainment districts, Canal Winchester would not be allowed additional liquor permits within the city until our population exceeds 10,000 people," he said. "We feel this is a great economic development tool for our city."

According to the Ohio Revised Code, a community entertainment district has or will have a combination of entertainment, retail, sporting, educational, cultural, social or arts establishments that are close to such things as hotels, restaurants, museums, movie theaters, night clubs, convention facilities, sports facilities, performing arts venues and shopping centers.

Most full-service restaurants seek D-5 permits, which allow the sale of beer, wine and mixed drinks. Under Ohio law, however, the number of liquor permits allowed in a jurisdiction is based on population. As the supply of allowed permits diminishes, the cost of those remaining can increase, creating a problem for restaurants that want to locate in a community.

A CED is a geographically limited area where a new quota of liquor permits can be allocated to help foster development.

Boring, principal of Boulevard Strategies, a consulting firm that provides economic development planning, said an entertainment district designation makes it easier for restaurants to do business.

"It enables them to not have long waits and expensive brokerage fees to obtain liquor licenses," he said. "From a city's standpoint, they can be good for increasing income payroll taxes and possibly bring higher property values.

"If you are looking to attract younger residents into your city, like millenials, if you have a cluster of restaurants and retail establishments in one area, especially within walking distance of each other, it's a good thing."

City Development Director Lucas Haire said the goal of the new CEDs is to "bring in more restaurants and businesses ... it's one less hurdle, one less hoop for restaurants to have to go through."

BrewDog's 100,000-square foot facility now under construction at 96 Gender Road is in the Gender Road-Route 33 Entertainment District.

Since BrewDog is building a brewery as well as a restaurant and bar on its site, it will operate with a manufacturer's permit, Haire said.

"Hopefully, it will help attract other restaurants in the area," he said.

It is typical for community entertainment districts to have a "pioneer restaurant" to pave the way for others to follow, Boring said.

"Usually with community entertainment districts, you need a pioneer restaurant. Once you get the first one, others will hopefully cluster around it," he said. "It makes areas more attractive in terms of bringing in restaurants. Canal Winchester doesn't really have enough upscale restaurants.

"I am for community entertainment districts," Boring said. "I think they are a great economical tool. Other suburban communities are looking into them as well."