Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Rafters: Up In Smoke?

Rafters Sports Bar & Restaurant

After 1.5 hours of sometimes agonizing deliberation the Amherst Select Board, keepers of the public way and front line pot dispensary czars, voted 4-0-1 to issue a "Letter of Support" to Happy Valley Ventures, the 4th such approval (out of 4 requests) in just the last five months.

But this one was different.  W-A-Y different.

The other three involved locations that are currently unoccupied, whereas Happy Valley is buying and tearing down a local institution, Rafters Sports Bar.

Although their lawyer pointed out that the $2 million Purchase & Sale agreement (almost three times assessed value) could be matched by Rafters as they have a "right of first refusal" in the current lease.

And their C.E.O. complained that by trying to force them to address the Rafters dilemma "changes the bar" and puts them at a competitive disadvantage compared to the other three companies which is probably a restraint of trade violation.

Insert:  CEO Edward Lauth (right) & his attorney, former state senator Andrea Nuciforo

Temporary Town Manager Pete Hechenbleikner advised the SB "Any redevelopment has impact on local business.  It's best to set aside this particular business and simply ask is this a good plan for this particular site.  If so, support it; if not don’t."

To which Chair Alisa Brewer responded, "It feels irresponsible."

But in the end (at 10:30 PM) they grudgingly took the vote and possibly sealed the fate of a local long-time,  responsible -- some would argue beloved --  small business.

Rafters sits on corner lot University Drive & Amity Street at  a main gateway to UMass


Anonymous said...

They didn't seal the fate of Rafters, because the land has not been purchased. We'll see if it actually does.

Anonymous said...

Rafters + walkable from nowhere = drunk driving capital of Amherst

Just look at the size of the parking lot

Happy to see it go away

Would prefer a different sort of replacement though

Anonymous said...

Assessed value is 1/3 of the purchase price? The town has been losing tax revenue on that property for years! Even if the sale doesn't go through, the property should be FAIRLY re-assessed.

Ralph Reed said...

er, I meant climbing off the climactic flywheel.

Anonymous said...

So Amherst will have more Pot stores (4) than Package stores (3) -- remember that Liquors 44 is just over the Hadley line.

And Pot is still technically illegal.

I'd like to see a Conservative state ban abortions on the grounds of if some syayes can ignore Federal law, others can too.

Rebecca said...

I don't see this as the town's fault or whatever. Maybe I'm missing something here. Rafter's owners should have purchased that land a long time ago instead of leasing it. If the landlord of the property wants to make money by accepting an offer substantially above market price then that's between the property owner and the buyer. I'm not seeing why the town should have a say in this.

Reminds me of when Clase Cafe got ousted downtown. They let their lease lapse, if I remember correctly, and Brueggers swept in and offered the landlord more money so they could expand. Clase lost their space and went out of business. It was a shame, and I've only been to Brueggers a few times in my life as a result, but it's business. Town has no say in it.

Anonymous said...

The first anonymous comment couldn't be more accurate. Anyone that knows this establishment beyond having gone there once or twice knows this is the drunk driving central. Not that there isn't a problem with drinking and driving at many bars in the area/country in general, but here in particular it was part of the everyday culture. Customers and employees alike continually blacked-out on a daily basis and drove home to various parts of WMass. This place being closed would make me feel safer on the roads of Amherst and Hadley.

Larry Kelley said...

As I just mentioned in my most recent pot post I have observed hundreds of court DUI dispositions and one question the Judge has to ask is "Where did you have your last drink."

And over the past three years I think I've heard every bar in Amherst cited at least once.

Anonymous said...

What does the surgeon general have to say out burning things and sucking and holding the smoke in your lungs?

Anonymous said...

The holding of smoke is bad the cbd the thc that is in weed, only lasts three secionds its an urban myth that the longer you hold it in the higher you get. The "higher" feeling is youre brain lacking oxigyn, and on top of it youre nuro transmitters are slowed down. The way you want to engest it is oraly and or vaporize it into youre lungs. Seciondly being amherst we would profit off of it. It would decrease "drug dealers"
And also help us fix our roads.. amherst just got a 1.5 million rotory at the intersection of west st bay road and 116, but we cannot afford for our streets to be safe for our cars? Two years ago my truck was totaled from a 90lb peice of road that kicked up. Mabye we can use.this profit fire our crappy union workers and hire someone like palmer paving to do our roads.

Jackie M'Vemba said...

You don't hold in cigarette smoke and that causes plenty of long trouble. Long trouble? Death, I mean. Whether you do or do not need to hold in pot smoke, ost people do just that.