Gil Borboa (in suit), the Water Resources manager for City Hall, talks with Andrew Cherene, the staff geologist for Worley Parsons Komex, a resources and energy company, at the Santa Monica Water Treatment Plant on Wilshire Boulevard in May of last year. The City Council will spend more than $50 million to build another treatment plant to restore the local water supply. (photo by Brandon Wise)

<i>Editor’s note: This story is part of an ongoing series that tracks the city’s expenditures appearing on upcoming Santa Monica City Council consent agendas. Consent agenda items are routinely passed by the City Council with little or no discussion from elected officials or the public. However, many of the items have been part of public discussions in the past.</i>

CITY HALL — More than a month after loosening zoning restrictions to help a pawn shop find a new home, the City Council is now set to become the business’ new landlord.

The council tonight is expected to enter a lease agreement with Angelo’s Pawn Shop for a 2,300 square-foot space at 1334 Fifth St., which City Hall recently purchased as part of its Downtown parking improvement plan.

The approval of the lease agreement is part of the council’s consent agenda, which also includes a $53.4 million spending package.

The two-story commercial building is just one of several parcels of property on the same block that City Hall acquired for its Downtown Parking Strategy, a three-year-old program that seeks to meet the parking needs in Downtown for the next 10 years by seismically upgrading and reconstructing existing parking structures and building new ones. City Hall owns everything on the west side of 1300 block from the corner of Arizona Avenue to the Carlson’s Appliance building.

While city officials spend the next few years planning the fate of 1334 Fifth, the building will house the last known pawn shop in Santa Monica.

The pawn shop is being forced to relocate because of construction at the old Mayfair Theater at 206 Santa Monica Blvd., which has been its home since its founding 23 years ago. The Mayfair is being transformed into a housing development.

The City Council recently approved an interim ordinance that expanded the geographical area where pawn brokers are permitted, allowing pawn shop owners to widen their search beyond what was 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 will occupy a 2,300 square foot space on the first floor for $2 per square foot. The lease will end Dec. 31, 2010, but can continue on a month-to-month basis thereafter. The building also houses a flower shop and nonprofit organization.

Setting the price for clean water

The cost of restoring the local drinking water supply won’t come cheap.

The council will be asked to approve a “guaranteed maximum price” of $52.8 million to its contract with Black and Veatch Construction, which is the designer and builder for the Charnock Well Field Restoration Project. The guaranteed maximum price covers all costs to design and construct the project.

The project includes the construction of a new water treatment facility that will decontaminate the Charnock groundwater sub-basin, bringing back the local drinking water resource and reducing City Hall’s dependency on the Metropolitan Water District, which supplies about 88 percent.

It was about a dozen years ago that five wells in the Charnock Field were taken out of commission after officials discovered an MTBE contamination from leaking underground gasoline storage tanks owned by several oil companies, including Shell, Chevron and Exxon Mobil. Several settlements followed over the next decade, including $120 million from the oil companies in 2003 and another $131 million in 2006.

The council will also be asked to enter a $225,000 contract with Converse Consultants to provide geotechnical and soil inspection services for the project, and a $352,000 contract with the Willdan Group for deputy inspection and materials testing services.

“Both Converse Consultants and Willdan Group Inc., have provided similar services on other municipal and institutional projects of comparable size and complexity,” a city staff report stated.

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