A stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard that's home to tattoo shops, adult booksellers and discount motels could be welcoming pawn shops to the mix if the Las Vegas City Council approves a proposed ordinance.
The ordinance, scheduled for introduction on Wednesday, would lift a long-standing prohibition on pawn shops between Charleston and Sahara avenues.
It comes as Mayor Carolyn Goodman and others have been looking for a compromise that would move Ace Loan pawn shop off Third Street and out of the shadow of the former Lady Luck hotel-casino, now undergoing transformation into the Downtown Grand.
Ace Loan owner Howard Bock has offered to move his shop into a vacant commercial property he owns at St. Louis Avenue and Paradise Road, but has run into opposition from residents of nearby Beverly Green and the owners of SuperPawn, which runs a store adjacent to Bock's vacant property.
Goodman, who was traveling and unavailable for an interview, has said in the past that more flexibility for pawn shops to move onto the prohibited stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard could resolve the impasse.
Ward 3 Councilman Bob Coffin, who sided with Beverly Green residents and SuperPawn in opposition to Bock's move, has similar hopes that lifting the restriction could lead to a compromise.
"There probably would be a space for him there; then he'd have a jump on it."
Pawn shops are already allowed elsewhere on Las Vegas Boulevard. Gold and Silver Pawn, made famous by the History Channel reality show "Pawn Stars," is on the boulevard between Gass and Garces avenues.
SuperPawn's St. Louis Avenue store has a driveway and a sign facing Las Vegas Boulevard as well.
So far, however, Bock isn't inclined to move to Las Vegas Boulevard. He wishes to move into the building he already owns on St. Louis or remain on Third Street and take advantage of an increase in foot traffic he expects from the Downtown Grand and the soon-to-open Mob Museum at Third Street and Stewart Avenue.
Bock, who also owns John's Loan and Jewelry at Sahara Avenue and Paradise Road, says he doesn't oppose lifting the restriction on Las Vegas Boulevard, but sees it as more likely to benefit SuperPawn, which has 24 stores in Southern Nevada, than his longtime operation.
"Why would (the city) allow (SuperPawn) to come next to me over here and not let me next to them over there," Bock said. "SuperPawn seems to be writing the rules of engagement."
Bock opened the Third Street and Paradise stores only after agreeing to move off of First Street several years ago to accommodate the redevelopment and expansion of the Golden Nugget.
Jennifer Lazovich, an attorney for SuperPawn, which is owned by Cash America, an international company, said the firm supports the proposed ordinance.
Lazovich said lifting the prohibition could prompt the firm to expand its operation.
"I think it could really be a very iconic thing on Las Vegas Boulevard, again, if it is done right," Lazovich said. "It could turn into a flagship store for them."
The ordinance is on the council agenda as a new bill, meaning it is scheduled to be read into the record and referred to the City Council Recommending Committee for further discussion.
Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-229-6435.