Wash. sells liquor stores for nearly $31 million

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YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) -- Washington state has awarded the right to take over its state-run liquor stores to 121 individual bidders following an online public auction that concluded Friday.

The state Liquor Control Board announced Monday that bids for the rights to the 167 stores totaled $30.75 million. More than 14,600 bids were offered.

Voters required the state to dismantle its liquor business when they approved Initiative 1183 last fall. The measure allows stores larger than 10,000 square feet to sell liquor.

Successful bidders win the exclusive right to operate a liquor store at that location. Because the state does not own the properties, the bidders still must negotiate a lease, as well as acquire a liquor license and stock their stores.