Farmington council puts final touches on social district

With a small correction in an authorizing resolution, Farmington council members on Monday cleared the way for opening downtown Farmington’s new social district.

The Syndicate runs along sidewalks west from Sidecar Slider Bar in the Village Commons shopping center to Loft Cigar Bar. Branches run on the east and west sides of Farmington Road, the parking lot and alley connecting MI.Mosa to Grand River and Riley Park, and from Riley Park to Masa, downtown’s newest eatery.

Created this year by Michigan lawmakers as an economic development tool, social districts allow patrons of participating establishments to consume carryout alcohol in designated areas.

Council members approved measures to create the district last month, but the Michigan Liquor Control Commission asked for a small language change, Downtown Development Authority (DDA) Director Kate Knight said.

Farmington’s district will be marked by bollards and signage, and businesses will receive cards that include a map.

Downtown Farmington The Syndicate

“We’re trying to figure out what that looks like in real time as we install (the bollards),” she said. “We think it’s sort of intuitive, and we assume that most folks will try to figure out and comply. That’s been the general statewide experience.”

Businesses have to jump through a few extra hoops. In addition to a carryout license, they must also register to participate in the social district and use approved containers that bear their own logo and the social district’s.

Knight said some businesses that already have the carryout license could get their district permits this week. The list of approved licensees includes Page’s Food & Spirits, Basement Burger Bar, Los Tres Amigos, MI.Mosa, Loft Cigar Bar, Sidecar Slider Bar, The Krazy Crab, Chive Kitchen, Masa, and Farmington Brewing Company.

Knight said the district can be amended as more businesses express interest. Look for a soft opening of The Syndicate around the time the Riley Park Ice Rink opens, which may be as soon as next week. It will remain in place through 2024.

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