By Lookout Staff
March 25 – In an effort to save Santa Monica’s last remaining pawn shop, the City Council on Tuesday directed staff to draft an ordinance expanding the area Downtown that allows such establishments.
Angelo’s Pawn Shop – which is losing its longtime home at the Mayfair Theatre complex slated to soon undergo a major reconstruction – has been unable to find a new home under a restrictive zoning code that only allows pawnbrokers to operate between 2nd and 4th streets in the heart of the Downtown.
At the behest of Mayor Ken Genser, the council voted 5 to 0 to have staff draft a new law expanding the zone from 7th Street to Ocean Avenue, which encompasses most other locations in the Downtown area.
“They’ve had difficulty finding a space in the area,” said Genser.
Downtown officials support the proposed law crafted to save the last pawn shop in an increasingly upscale city.
“They think it’s a positive addition to the Downtown,” Genser said.
The pawnshop must move after the owner of the Mayfair Theater obtained a permit to build a new 34-unit apartment building with ground-floor retail behind the old façade of the landmark structure, which was battered 15 years ago in the Northridge Earthquake. (“Rebirth of a Landmark,” March 19, 2008)
The move comes as pawnshops across the nation are seeing a resurgence during tough economic times.
Although there is no hard data to back the claim, the National Pawnbrokers Association has reported an increase in its members business.
People are taking longer to pay back their loans and are more often taking the cash and never coming back for their goods, Dave Adelman, president of the 2,400-member association, told ABC News last month.