A Zick and Sharp Gets a New Life

In the course of researching and interviewing for this piece, the Nevada Preservation Foundation was able to arrange for a members-only reception and tour of a wonderful 1963 Zick and Sharp building. We are so looking forward to having a chance to look around this building and hear about its history at our very own private event.


I had heard through the grapevine that Super Pawn had plans to move from their current location in St. Louis Square across from the Stratosphere to a new building not too far away. Wondering where they were moving to, I contacted the lobbyist for Super Pawn – Jennifer Lazovich – and asked her. After I heard they were moving in to 1700 South Main Street, I asked her to let me know if there were any period fixtures or fittings that might need a new home.


Less than a week later, I heard from Jennifer that Super Pawn was thinking of removing the metal screen that covered the west facing doors. With that, the Nevada Preservation Foundation sent out their first ever Preservation Action Alert. Within ten minutes of sending it out, Jake Leslie had called the Foundation and secured ownership of these screens. It was very rewarding for us to have such a quick success with our first alert.

It was arranged between Jake and Super Pawn that he would pick them up that Monday morning. So at 9:00 on December 9, I met Jake and Josh Rogers at 1700 South Main. As they removed the panels from the buildings Jake told me he wasn’t exactly sure what he was going to do with them. He thought he would probably put some on his house and find other homes for the ones that he couldn’t use. If you ever noticed this screen, you know how large it is. I have since learned that this is, in fact, how they are being used. Thanks to Jake for giving them a new life! 


While Jake and Josh worked on removing the screen, I walked into the building proper where workmen were readying it for its new occupants. I noticed the building has poured terrazzo floors, a massive safe, and a lovely white rock wall that starts outside the front entrance and continues into the building. I had never been inside this building, but always liked its exterior. I was happy to see that it was quite a cool mid-century piece.


After getting in touch with Courtney Mooney at the City’s Historic Preservation Office, I found out that not only is 1700 South Main a cool building but it was designed by Walter Zick and Harris Sharp! Now it made much more sense why it is such a nice looking building. Zick and Sharp are among some of the most prolific mid-century architects in our valley, having designed such buildings as The Mint, the Flora Dungan Humanities building at UNLV, and many banks. In fact, Zick and Sharp designed many of the First National Bank of Nevada branches (two of which are pictured below), which is what 1700 South Main functioned as for quite some time. I believe that it wasn’t until 2000 that the building changed hands and no longer was used as a bank.

Over the past ten or so years, the building has had a few occupants the most recent of which has been Excella Communications that provided digital voice services for businesses. In April 2014, though, this building will reopen as a Super Pawn. The moving of Super Pawn away from its current location in St. Louis Square is quite an event in the Nevada chapter of this company. The St. Louis Square store has been a Super Pawn for over twenty years and is the first Super Pawn location in Las Vegas. However, as St. Louis Square has shifted away from individual stores, this location has become less profitable. It seemed that moving into a more commercial area might be more appropriate. After some searching, 1700 South Main was selected.

Before the store opens in April, Super Pawn will be investing approximately $800,000 in abatement and renovation to make the store ready. There are no plans to remove the terrazzo floors or the rock wall at the entrance. And the safe will remain to house the jewelry counter, giving the store a simple means for ensuring the safety of expensive merchandise.


The company also worked with the Nevada Preservation Foundation to find a period appropriate color scheme for the building’s exterior. The Foundation wanted emphasize the mid-century aspects of the building, so we suggested incorporating the aqua from Super Pawn’s sign into the building colors. The company liked our proposed color scheme as did the Planning Commission. We are honored that we were able to help bring a bit more mid-century to our Main Street.

The building as it stands today is not the original building that Zick and Sharp designed. The front of the building used to have much more floor to ceiling glass and the large two-story cubes at the south end of the building weren’t added until 2002. None of these will be changed with Super Pawn’s move into the building. The 2002 addition will on the ground floor serve as merchandise storage while the second floor will most likely be converted into training space for the company.


In all, we are glad to see that Super Pawn is moving into 1700 South Main. It is clear from our conversations with the Super Pawn representatives that they enjoy having a distinctively designed building for their new location. In addition, this move takes them off a side street across from residential housing and into a commercial area. A better fit for everyone.


We are looking forward to the members-only reception in April at this unique Zick and Sharp designed building. We hope to see you there!



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