Developer envisions arts hub for historic Vegas movie house
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A developer who grew up going to the Huntridge Theater is poised to get city approval to buy the shuttered former movie in central Las Vegas, renovate its damaged roof and convert it to an arts hub.
The architecture won’t change, but the building dating to 1943 could become a concert venue, a performance auditorium or a community arts space, building buyer J Dapper told the Las Vegas Sun .
“There are a lot of things that have to fall into place to make it something specific,” he said. “It’s definitely not going to be a movie theater,
Dapper has been investing in Huntridge neighborhood projects for several years. He said he has long wanted to see the more than 75-year-old property at Charleston Boulevard and Maryland Parkway revived.
He hopes to also put restaurants, condominiums or office space on the four-acre parcel to make the venture more profitable.
The sale needs city approval due to structural and safety issues and the listing of the property since 1993 on the National Register of Historic Places. A City Council vote is scheduled Nov. 6.
The theater was the city’s first racially integrated movie house. The roof collapsed in July 1995, hours before a concert, but no one was seriously hurt.
The nonprofit Friends of the Huntridge Theatre operated as a concert venue for several years. It closed in July 2004 and has in recent years been controlled by the family of Eli Mizrachi of Las Vegas.
Mizrachi did not respond to requests from the Sun for comment. He said in July that selling the theater was difficult because he wanted the next owner to open it as an arts or entertainment venue.
Dapper, founder of Las Vegas-based Dapper Cos., said three key factors made the sale possible: Support from the city, a realistic sale price and a growing interest from investors in downtown properties.
“If I was doing this without the city’s help, it would never get done,” he said.
City Councilwoman Olivia Diaz, whose district includes the theater, said she liked what she heard about the deal.
“We are excited that maybe we’re finally going to be able to make some strides on this property and make it accessible like it once was to the community,” she said.