The California Coastal Commission has voted 8-0 to allow Joe Pagliari to relocate his small grocery store on Santa Monica's Main Street, ending his five-month battle to stay in operation.
There's a catch, however. Pagliari's new location at 2916 Main St. is still a vacant lot.
Developer Russ Barnard said the Santa Monica Architectural Review Board will meet March 20 to rule on his plans for a two-story building, which have been approved by the Santa Monica Planning Commission.
Pagliari may be able to move into his new ground-floor location as early as the end of June, Barnard said.
The lease on Pagliari's Main Liquor and Deli, at 2905 Main St., expired in 1984 and Pagliari rented on a month-to-month basis for $2,000 a month. In August, Pagliari was notified that his rent would be increased to to $5,000, a move tantamount to eviction.
Ocean Park residents rushed to Pagliari's defense last October when the planning commission approved a request to replace the deli with the Banana Republic clothing store. Residents argued that the market provided vital services to the community, such as extending credit to low-income customers.
Several members of the Ocean Park Community Organization flew to San Francisco to show the Coastal Commission a petition with 280 signatures asking that Pagliari be allowed to move to a vacant location across the street.
The Coastal Commission staff originally recommended against Pagliari moving to the new location because of the lack of parking.
San Francisco-based Banana Republic, a Gap Clothing Store subsidiary specializing in designer tropical wear, will lease Pagliari's 2905 Main St. location for $6,800 a month, more than three times what Pagliari pays.
Pagliari will pay his current $2,000-a-month rent at the new store, with yearly increases based on the consumer price index.
Pagliari said he will have a five-year lease with a five-year renewal option, and that the Coastal Commission voted to extend his moving deadline to April 30.
Martina Guilfoil, a member of the Ocean Park Community Organization, said the city may also put two parking meters in front of the new store.
Pagliari says he is concerned about what will happen after he closes for two or three months until his new store is finished.
Customers "get used to another place and they don't come back to mine," Pagliari said.
However, he said all his customers know about the move, so he doesn't expect to lose his regulars.
"But I don't really know how it'll turn out yet," Pagliari said. "I just got to wait and see."