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  • By Lisa Brody

Rail District restaurant gets new liquor license

Lincoln Yard, a full service restaurant proposed for Birmingham's Rail District, received unanimous approval by the Birmingham City Commission at their meeting on Monday, October 28, to receive an economic development liquor license.

An economic development license is an economic incentive, with Birmingham originally designating underutilized properties along Woodward as areas that could use revitalization. Earlier at the meeting, commissioners approved an area in the Rail District, on the east side of Lincoln and Cole streets, as eligible properties for economic development licenses. To receive an economic development liquor license, where a Class C liquor license can be brought in from another municipality, the property must be zoned as qualified for it, and have at least $10 million in investments or an increase of 500 percent in value.

Lincoln Yard, 2159 E. Lincoln Road, is owned by Curt Catallo and Anne Stevenson of Union Joints, which owns Clarkston Union, Gran Castor and Vinsetta Garage, among other establishments. The Lincoln Yard plan also includes a smaller fast casual take out restaurant, to be called “Little Yard,” proposed for the former Birmingham Schools bus garage. Birmingham planner Brooks Cowan said they have applied to renovate a a building greater than 6,000 square feet into a dine-in restaurant featuring American comfort food, such as roasted meats and elevated vegetarian cuisine, along with a small take out spot.

Lincoln Yard will have 135 indoor seats and 73 outdoor seats, and will be open from 11 a.m. to midnight daily. Little Yard will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Cowan said they will create 85-95 permanent new jobs, with a total investment of about $3 million. As the property is currently assessed at $180,000, “There will be an 820 percent increase in assessed value, but actually it will go up even more after development,” he said.

“This has been a three-year process, and at each stage we've learned a lot,” Catallo said in addressing the commission. Initially, Lincoln Yard was proposed for a bistro license, but Union Joints realized the scope of the project was too large to fit into the restrictions of the bistro ordinance.

“This process is worth it because we'll deliver a product that deserves to be in Birmingham,” he said. “We work hard to come up with restaurants that are inclusive, exciting, vibrant and comforting.”

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