Give planners and architects of the new Real Monarchs soccer stadium a penalty card.
They placed the entrance of the 5,000-seat venue for Real Salt Lake’s minor-league affiliate just 100 feet from RSL’s new charter school. That’s too close, according to state law, to get a liquor license.
Alcohol licenses cannot be granted to businesses if they are within 200 feet (as the crow flies) or 600 feet (by pedestrian travel) of a church, school, park, public playground or library. The distance requirement is different for restaurants, which must be at least 300 feet from community locations.
RSL officials are working with the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control on several possible options, such as moving the stadium entrance farther from the school or creating a beer garden inside the venue.
“We are going to follow the recommendations of the DABC to see what we can or cannot do,” said Daniel K. Boyd, owner of Wasatch Restaurant Group, the consulting firm that oversees all the food service operations for RSL and its owner, Dell Loy Hansen.
The new stadium is part of a larger 42-acre complex under construction off the Mountain View Corridor, near 14700 South 3700 West. It includes eight soccer fields and training facilities to be used by RSL, the Monarchs, the Utah Royals — RSL’s new professional women’s team — and the club’s under-16 and under-18 teams.
It also is home to the Real Salt Lake Academy High School, a charter school that specializes in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The school includes a boarding facility and caters to up-and-coming soccer players who come from around the country to train.
The project, estimated to cost $73 million, should be completed for RSL’s winter preseason training.
Receiving a liquor license to sell beer at the Monarchs stadium could be further complicated because another food business that Hansen owns was cited by officers from the State Bureau of Investigation during a men’s dance and review show in February 2017.
The 50 West Cafe and event center, inside Broadway Media Building in downtown Salt Lake City, was issued six liquor citations, including four for lewd acts and attire for the Valentine’s Day-themed show. The violations resulted in a $15,000 fine and a 15-day license suspension from the DABC.
Boyd said the company accepts responsibility for the violations, saying it failed to properly investigate the group that rented 50 West for the event.
Because of the previous violations, the DABC is giving extra scrutiny to liquor license requests from Wasatch Restaurant Group. Last month, Wasatch was seeking a full-service restaurant license for From Scratch, an established wood-fired pizza restaurant it had recently purchased.
The restaurant on Gallivan Avenue in Salt Lake City had lost its previous liquor license and had not been selling alcohol for several months because Wasatch had failed to submit a “transfer of license” application before the sale, according to Nina McDermott, the DABC’s director of compliance, licensing and enforcement.
While From Scratch was issued the new license, McDermott warned the state liquor commission that she sees a trend with Hansen and his food-service companies. “It hasn’t been doing its due diligence,” she said. “Failing to plan and then reacting.”
“This is a big enough business,” she argued. “It should take more responsibility on the front end.”
In addition to 50 West and From Scratch, Hansen is part or full owner in several other food-related businesses with DABC liquor licenses, including Levy Food Services, which runs concession for RSL stadium in Sandy; Shula’s 347 Grill in West Valley City; and the Copper Mill and Elements restaurants in Cache Valley.
Hansen also owns six Corner Bakery locations that do not serve liquor.
If RSL and Wasatch can’t solve the licensing problem with the DABC, only a small number of the possible 5,000 fans who attend each game are likely to notice.
Monarchs games and ticket prices will be geared toward families, Boyd said, and officials expect only 5 percent to 6 percent of attendees to buy 3.2 beer on tap. In comparison, 10 percent to 12 percent of the 20,000 fans who attend RSL games buy beer.
“We’re only talking about 250 people,” Boyd said. “We’re not expecting a beer fest where everyone is coming in to drink.”