PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Here's a story sure to lift your spirits!
Starting Nov. 1, Desert Ridge Marketplace in north Phoenix will become the first shopping center in Arizona to take advantage of a new law that allows patrons to consume alcoholic drinks while strolling through the mall.
Until now, patrons could drink in bars and restaurants but could not take their alcoholic beverages into the open-air marketplace.
But thanks to new state legislation, patrons 21 and older will be able to buy beer, wine and other alcoholic drinks at an outdoor kiosk operated by Copper Blues Live, then stroll around the mall.
"I think it's better than splice bread," said Emily Andrews, a mother who enjoyed the new rules on Day 1. "As a mom, you just need a glass of wine sometimes and now I can do it and enjoy shopping and all the other stuff Desert Ridge has to offer."
The hours of operation will be Friday from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., Saturday from 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Construction is underway for a permanent bar/kiosk at Desert Ridge that will be called the Copper Cantina and will be operated by Copper Blues Live. It is expected to open in January and have extended operating hours.
There was a temporary one there on Friday.
But not everyone likes the new policy.
"I thought this was a family environment and it seems it's going to become this nightclub," an unidentified mother told Arizona's Family. She didn't want it to become like Las Vegas.
The new measure allowing folks to "sip and stroll" was signed by Gov. Doug Ducey in April.
The legislation established a pilot program in which a bar or restaurant is granted permission to serve alcohol outside of its establishment to a customer, who then may walk around the grounds with an alcoholic beverage in hand.
The plan, including security, must first be approved by the city in which the shopping center is located, and then by Director John Cocca of the Arizona Department of Liquor. The City of Phoenix and Director Cocca have both approved the Desert Ridge Marketplace plan.
“You can get a drink at a movie theater and walk around resorts and golf courses with a cocktail, so why not retail centers?” said David Larcher, president of real estate company Vestar.
Larcher said the company did its homework, talked to state officials, including the Arizona Department of Liquor, and eventually landed a bill dealing with liquor laws during the past session of the Arizona state Legislature. The bill was sponsored by State Rep. Jeff Weninger and signed into law by Gov. Ducey.
Desert Ridge Marketplace will be the first shopping center in the state to provide this new shopping experience. Next up could be Vestar’s Tempe Marketplace, which is also in the process of seeking approvals to offer the same amenity.
According to the state legislation, up to 10 shopping centers throughout the state, which are greater than 400,000 square feet, may apply for the three-year pilot program.
Copper Blues Live will be the only location at Desert Ridge Marketplace where customers can purchase alcohol and then stroll outdoors with the drink.
Managers of the popular restaurant, comedy spot and entertainment venue say they expect this change in the law will help business across the center.
“We appreciate Vestar’s leadership to help make this change possible. We think it will be great not only for our business but the eligible shopping centers seeking to innovate with new and different ways to bring people and keep them at their properties,” said Eric Bachkoff, Partner of Copper Blues Live.
-About CB Live:
Copper Blues (CB Live) is a comedy and music venue that opened at Desert Ridge last November.
The 11,000 square-foot space across from Barnes & Noble includes 450 seats and a patio. The area is separated into two sides by a retractable, soundproof sky wall.
On one side is a restaurant “in the round” – a full-service eatery, bar and hotspot with a 270-degree view of the stage, which features nightly entertainment from local bands, acoustic acts and DJs. On the other end is the live side, a dynamic, state-of-the-art music, comedy and multi-use venue with the latest in lighting and video technology.
CB Live was founded by the ownership group of Stand Up Live and Copper Blues in downtown Phoenix.
-About Desert Ridge Marketplace:
Owned and managed by Phoenix-based, Vestar, Desert Ridge Marketplace is Arizona’s premier shopping, dining and entertainment destination. Featuring over 100 retailers and restaurants, the 1.2 million square foot mixed-use lifestyle center recently completed a $22 million renovation. Desert Ridge Marketplace is located in Phoenix, Arizona, just north of the Loop 101 on Tatum Boulevard. For more information, visit shopdesertridge.com.
One of the leading privately held real estate companies in the United States, Vestar specializes in the acquisition, management and development of retail real estate, including entertainment-retail complexes, power and lifestyle centers, and neighborhood centers of varying size and scale that serve as community shopping destinations.
Founded in 1989, Vestar currently manages over 30 million square feet of space in 9 states throughout the western United States. For more information, please visit www.vestar.com.