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The Railspur officially given green light, final approval for Cheyenne’s new full retail liquor license

The current West Edge Collective building on West Lincolnway in Cheyenne, which will over the course of the year begin the transformation into The Railspur after being awarded a full retail liquor license from the Cheyenne City Council on Monday. (Briar Napier/Cap City News)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — After a months-long, arduous process, the awardee of Cheyenne’s new full retail liquor license has been finally decided: The Railspur.

Officially known on city documents as Get Bent LLC, the project will see the West Edge Collective building on West Lincolnway be turned into a hybrid bistro, bar and outdoor entertainment area in two phases throughout the course of the next two years.

The Railspur was recommended by the city to receive the license in last week’s Committee of the Whole meeting, with a vote on final approval conducted by the Cheyenne City Council in its meeting Monday evening.

The license was awarded in a 7–2 vote, with councilmember Tom Segrave and Mayor Patrick Collins voting no. Ward II councilmember Mark Rinne was not present.

The project is spearheaded by West Edge Collective Managing Director Chad Willett and business partners Juan Coronado and Seth Stefanik, the co-founders of Cheyenne-based company Micro Pop-Up Concepts. Several councilmembers spoke highly of the group’s preparation and the potential of what their idea could bring to the downtown area.

“When I saw the presentation by Get Bent, I was reverted back to things I constantly hear from families in Cheyenne,” Ward III councilmember Ken Esquibel said Monday. “What are we doing for younger people? And [it] appeared to me that [this concept] was one that was really going to bring younger people back down to downtown Cheyenne.”

There is one caveat with the license, however. The building must receive a full certificate of occupancy — or approvals from a fire marshal and building inspector and approval of a site plan through the city — by Dec. 31, or the license reverts back to the city for other use. Get Bent has stated previously that it would be able to complete the first phase (the indoor portion) of its building renovation by that date, barring any hiccups, and be open for business by the end of the year.

A few councilmembers expressed concerns with the deadline, implemented within the Committee of the Whole’s recommendation Wednesday, noting that supply chain issues and various other unpredictable barriers could create problems through no fault of the owners. Collins, on Johnson’s suggestion, told The Railspur’s group to make the city aware of any potential problems that may arise prior to the deadline.

Segrave, who proposed a motion to recommend Westby Edge Brewing Co. — one of 11 (later nine) applicants for the liquor license — for the permit at the Committee of the Whole meeting, continued to be vocal Monday on his concerns related to The Railspur.

Space and a lack of a devoted kitchen area were some of his main complaints, and Stefanik’s comments regarding how the latter part would be solved through “ghost kitchens” that serve delivery-only meals through food trucks didn’t seem to convince him.

“When I think of a full-service license that includes a restaurant, I don’t think of a ghost kitchen and a food truck out back with QR codes around the city delivering food to you,” Segrave said. “I think of a restaurant, so I guess I’m not hip and cool with it in today’s world. … I don’t think they’re qualifying there.

“It’s very limited space. I don’t know how you’re going to have a package facility … [The space is] certainly not what I was looking for when we were trying to award this. I was looking for something where we took an old warehouse-type facility [or] an old office building.”

Still, The Railspur finds itself the “winner” of the city’s liquor license sweepstakes, one that’s resulted in numerous criticisms of the state’s liquor license laws by city employees and community members alike. A proposed resolution brought up in Monday’s meeting would create an official declaration toward the state from Laramie County municipalities to change those laws if the parties within — both Cheyenne and the towns of Pine Bluffs, Burns and Albin — all signed.

Willett, speaking through Zoom, said prior to the vote that he was optimistic to see “good forward progress” with the city regarding The Railspur’s site and its development. Additionally, he expressed admiration toward his fellow applicants, adding he would be on their side in the battle to change Wyoming’s liquor laws.

For The Railspur specifically, however, the work toward getting the project off the ground officially begins now.

“We will continue to stand with our colleagues in support for reform of these licenses,” Willett said. “And I do applaud the council for the resolution and really fighting the good fight.”