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State liquor license auction nets about $30.7 million for Washington

More than 120 people or companies placed bids over the past 45 days to acquire 167 Washington-run state liquor stores. The auction concluded Friday evening, and the total bid amount came to $30.7 million.

That's what the state will reap as private operators start selling booze. The auctions are not for the stores, which the state was leasing. The auctions give winners only a right to sell liquor at the physical location of the state store.

The auction follows last fall's statewide approval of Initiative 1183, which takes the state out of the business of selling alcohol. The changes go into effect on June 1.

The first-time-ever auction attracted 551 bidders who cast more than 14,620 bids — including one worth $4.6 million for all 167 stores. That bid was not successful.

The single largest bid was $750,000 for a store in Tacoma, followed by $500,100 for a store in Seattle.

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.