MONROVIA — In an effort to boost the image of the downtown commercial strip, city officials will provide a $200,000 low-interest loan to a major jewelry chain that is moving its corporate offices to Monrovia.
The City Council, serving in its role as the Monrovia Redevelopment Agency, has authorized the loan to Barry's Jewelers to move its offices to the northwest corner of Lemon and Myrtle avenues. The firm's current offices are in Duarte.
Barry's will invest about $3.8 million to rehabilitate a portion of an existing building and build a 50,000-square-foot structure with office and parking space.
Operates Hatfield, Ringmaker
The firm, which has 226 stores in 19 states--including Hatfield Jewelers and The Ringmaker in this area--acquired the properties in the last year. The loan was an inducement for the company to expand the scope of its original plan for the property.
The loan is one of the largest offered by the agency for a downtown project since the Foothill Park Plaza Shopping Center was built in 1984.
In an Aug. 30 report, Don Hopper, director of community development, said Barry's 200 employees will increase the daytime population and customer base of the business area, a longtime goal of the Redevelopment Agency.
3% Interest Rate
"The quality and magnitude of the project and its impact on the central business district support such a large commitment," Hopper said.
The loan, which will go toward remodeling the 1924 building on Myrtle Avenue, carries an interest rate of 3% and must be repaid within five years.
Barry's will lease the 13,000 square feet in that building to retail tenants once the renovations are finished in November. That phase, which will cost about $250,000, will include installation of new store fronts, canvas awnings and electrical upgrades.
Construction of the new office complex is scheduled to be completed by the end of April. The building will have an exterior of vintage brick and feature canopies and black brick columns.
Barry's decided to move its administrative offices because it needed more space, said Jay Johnson, a company vice president.