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People walk in front of Angelo's Pawnshop of the Stars next to the Mayfair theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard Wednesday afternoon. Pawnshops can now be placed anywhere in the downtown area due to the City Council's decision on Tuesday night. (photo by Brandon Wise)

DOWNTOWN — The last pawn shop in Santa Monica got a big boost from the City Council on Tuesday when officials approved an interim ordinance that expands the geographical area where such brokers are permitted.

The new law allows Angelo’s Pawn Shop, which is located in the Mayfair Theater complex at 206 Santa Monica Blvd., to widen its search for a new home beyond what is granted in the zoning code, which limits such businesses to the BSC District — bounded by Wilshire Boulevard to the north, Broadway to the south, First Court to the west and Fourth Court to the east.

The pawn shop, which is being forced to relocate because of the Mayfair reconstruction project, will be permitted to expand its search to the C3 and C3-C districts, broadening the boundaries to encompass all of Downtown.

“In these challenging economic times, it’s particularly important for the city to retain its Downtown businesses to support long-term economic stability of the city,” Eileen Fogarty, the planning and community development director, said. “Existing Downtown businesses need flexibility to relocate elsewhere in Downtown where their customer base has been established.”

The ordinance will become final once council adopts it upon second reading at its next meeting.

The issue first came to light at the council meeting on March 24 when Mayor Ken Genser requested staff draft an ordinance to help Angelo’s Pawn Shop remain in Santa Monica.

“They are having great difficulty in finding a location and they asked we expand this area,” Genser said at the time.

The shop is located on the west end of the Mayfair Theater, which was constructed in 1911 by J. Euclid Miles and Charles Tegner, who was one of the city’s founders, opening what was then known as the Majestic, the first theater in Santa Monica.

The 49,000 square foot complex will be redesigned into a mixed-use development, featuring 38 apartment units, ground-floor retail and two levels of subterranean parking.

The project will be constructed behind the theater’s facade, which will be preserved.

Angelo’s Pawn Shop has been in the same location since it was founded 23 years ago. The manager of the pawn shop declined to comment.

The theater remained shuttered for about 14 years behind a barricade of boards erected after the historic building was heavily damaged by the 1994 Northridge Earthquake that essentially took it out of commission for good.

The project was delayed by a lawsuit and several rounds of discussions with the Architectural Review Board before receiving final approval last June.

Construction began last month.

melodyh@smdp.com