When Rick Stern began to renovate his family’s 90-year-old Manor Theatre in Squirrel Hill, he thought it would be easy to secure a liquor license.
Instead, it took four months to find one, when it once took no time at all. After a city license became available at the last minute, he paid far more for it — $55,000 — than he ever expected to given the fact that they had cost about $40,000 for the past decade.
Ron Sofranko, who works with a variety of restaurant operators through his Wexford-based Sofranko Advisors, has seen the prices increase over the past 30 days. He expects it won’t take long before city liquor licenses sell for more than $70,000.