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Bank outbids Suher for liquor license

  • Shaun Dwyer, First Vice President, Commercial Lending at PeoplesBank, placed the winning bid at $52,000 for the liquor license formerly held by One Bar & Grill and currently owned by PeoplesBank during an auction Oct. 11, 2017 at the Hotel Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY

  • Corey Fisher of Aaron Posnik & Co. auctions off the liquor license formerly held by One Bar & Grill and currently owned by PeoplesBank Oct. 11, 2017 at the Hotel Northampton. —GAZETTE STAFF/SARAH CROSBY



@BeraDunau
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

NORTHAMPTON — An auction Wednesday for the former One Bar & Grill’s liquor license was won by PeoplesBank, the very entity that put it up for auction in the first place.

The license was pledged to PeoplesBank by One Bar & Grill in 2014 as collateral for a $175,000 loan. PeoplesBank has since called in that pledge, and chose to sell it at auction.

The auction, however, which took place in the Hotel Northampton around 11 a.m., drew only one qualified bidder.

Corey Fisher, of the Aaron Posnik and Co. auction house, asked for a starting bid of $50,000. Shaun Dwyer, first vice president of commercial lending at PeoplesBank, then met the bid, after which Eric Suher, of Suher Properties, bid $51,000. Dwyer then bid $52,000, but Suher would go no higher, and the auction was won by the bank.

Dwyer said the bank bid on the license to try to make sure it was sold at a good price.

“Now we’re going to look for other buyers for the license,” he said. “We’ll see what we can get for it.”

He also said that, given the media coverage prior to the auction, more bidders had been expected.

Before the auction started, a man interested in bidding was turned away because he did not present a certified check.

Liquor licenses are a valuable commodity in the commonwealth, sometimes selling for six figures. Except for the city of Boston, each community in Massachusetts has a specific number of liquor licenses that it can award based on population. However, communities can also apply to the Legislature for additional licenses. 

Last year, four licenses were granted to Northampton outside of the formula for four restaurants. However, these licenses came with the stipulation that they could not be sold.

The last liquor license to sell in Northampton at auction sold for $62,500 in June, and was purchased by Volkan Polatol, owner of Mulino’s Italian Restaurant and Bishop’s Lounge. Polatol attended Wednesday’s auction as an observer, and did not bid.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com