The owners of a Washington Street building that has been home to a restaurant or nightclub for decades say they have at least five serious potential operators who want to replace Felt, shut by state authorities earlier this year when they discovered the people running the club were not the same people listed as its owners.
Lawyers for the landlord - the Beldekas family - and for the two ownership groups listed in different documents as Felt's owners appeared before the Boston Licensing Board asking for some time to straighten out the ownership mess so that the Beldekases can find a new operator for the club, which has been in operation under a variety of names since 1960.
Liquor-license holders are not supposed to just sit on licenses and have to ask the licensing board for permission to seek new buyers or operators. The liquor license is the club's only real asset and without it, the family might not be able to find a new tenant for the space. Because of a state limit on the number of liquor licenses in Boston, licenses now typically go for $300,000 on the open market.
At issue is an ownership change in 2009, when Felt Enterprises LLC transferred ownership of Felt to Felt Enterprises, Inc., which had some of the same principals, but also some new owners. Only nobody notified the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission, which finally noticed the discrepancy this year and shut the place down.
The lawyers asked for six months to find a new operator and get it up and running. Board member Suzanne Ianella shook her head in disbelief. Ianella and the other two board members vote Thursday on whether to give the ownership groups more time and, if so, how much.
This afternoon, Felt had a small "For Rent" sign in one of its front windows.