The Asian Sea Grill, having recently acquired a relatively cheap all-beverage liquor license, is hoping to expand.
First it must win City Council approval of a special review that would allow it to use the license at its existing location, 1911 King Ave. W. The council will consider that request Monday night.
According to a report from the Planning and Community Services Department, Asian Sea Grill now operates with a beer and wine license to which no gambling privileges are attached.
The restaurant recently purchased a full-beverage license, with gambling privileges, at a foreclosure auction, paying just $400,000 for a type of license that was fetching up to $1 million a few years ago.
Bob Pulley, an agent for Asian Sea Grill, said the business looked in vain for a license with no gambling attached. He also said the restaurant signed a “no-compete” clause agreeing not to offer gambling, since another tenant in the complex is a casino. The business has no interest in offering gaming, Pulley said.
But with the new license, the restaurant intends to expand into an adjoining suite. The Zoning Commission voted 5-0 to recommend granting the special review, with several conditions attached, which limit the size of the expansion and bar the use of an outdoor public address system.
Also up for consideration Monday is a recommendation from the Downtown Billings Partnership to use $20,000 in downtown tax increment financing to complete funding for a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks at 25th Street.
The partnership has been working for many years on the bridge project, which has a total cost of $821,559. The 111-foot-long steel bridge was originally used as a horse and buggy bridge over Rock Creek near Joliet. It is being sold to the city by Joliet artist Charles Ringer.
Most of the money for the bridge is coming from federal transportation grants, but also from foundations, ConocoPhillips and individual donations. The bike-pedestrian bridge would span the tracks between Montana and Minnesota avenues at 25th Street. If the final piece of funding is approved Monday, installation will be planned for this spring.
Another allocation from downtown tax increment funding will be considered by the council. This one, for $8,000, would help fund a feasibility study for a proposed shuttle or circulator bus for the downtown.
MET Transit has already committed $12,000 to the $20,000 study, which would be conducted by LSC Transportation Consultants, the company that does most of the city’s bus route and schedule studies.