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Developer Seeks To Put New Life Into Huntridge Theater Project

huntridge_theatre.jpg

By Chicknhawk (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons

Plans to redevelop the historic, but crumbling, Huntridge Theater appeared dead earlier this summer, now a developer is seeking to acquire the theater. 

Someone wants to buy the historic Huntridge Theater, one of the oldest buildings in downtown Las Vegas, a place that the state and the community has sunk millions into to preserve.

A few months ago, KNPR reported that plans for The Huntridge to be renovated had been canceled. At the same time, state investigators have begun asking questions as a May 2016 court hearing approaches.

That hearing will look at whether the current owners of the theater, Eli Mizrachi and his father, broke their deal with the state.

They were allowed to buy the building at a discount but there were conditions. The state says some of those conditions were not met.

Now, Dapper Companies, a developer of retail and office properties, wants to buy the building.

J Dapper told KNPR's State of Nevada that he has met with Eli Mizrachi about purchasing the property, but he said a lot of things need to happen before that would go through.

Dapper said his company is interested in the whole area.

The company has already bought three proprieties in the area including the Huntridge Center, which is a large strip mall across Maryland Parkway from the theater.

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"We intend to do a lot of renovations and spend millions of dollars making those properties better," Dapper said, "And we would intend to do the same thing with the Huntridge Theater, but a lot of things have to happen."

He said structural engineers and design professionals need to go into the building to see what is really there and determine what can be done to re-purpose it.

Dapper said if they do move forward with the Huntridge Theater project like they hope, they would not seek public funding but instead intend to use their development money to improve it.

For now, however, the company is focused on the three properties it just bought. The plans include bringing down a building that was once home to a Farm Basket restaurant, improving the parking lots, adding more lighting to the parking lots, update the look of the properties with new signs and bringing in a security firm to patrol the area.

Dapper admitted that security is a problem.

The area is known as a place for the homeless to gather. Huntridge Circle Park, which a few blocks down from the intersection of Maryland Parkway and Charleston Blvd. was closed for several years because of safety concerns, following the fatal stabbing of a homeless man there.

"I think what happens is when people, whether it's homeless people or people that are up to no good, they don't think that anybody is taking care of a property they're going to use that property to do whatever they want." Dapper said, "And as soon as they know that there is a presence there and they know that people care things will start to change."

Besides improving the safety, Dapper's team wants to attract some of the same redevelopment that has been going on along East Fremont Street. 

"We are also going to be doing some reconfiguration of some of the spaces that will allow us to attract some new tenants," he said. "Some of the great tenants you're seeing on East Fremont, but that you're not seeing down this far."

Dapper supports the efforts to improve the city's urban core, but does point out that some of the basic services in many neighborhood areas are lacking. 

"I feel that there is a lot of momentum going on downtown and I feel very strongly that people want to be there but there has got to be a reason for them to there," he said, "You can't just live downtown. You've got to have a safe place to shop, to fill up your car with gas or go get a beer at the local tavern."

He hopes to fill that void with both big corporate tenants and small mom-and-pop businesses. Dapper said people living in the area will see changes immediately.  

KNPR's State of Nevada
Sep 15, 2015

Huntridge Backer Answers Donors' Questions

Guests

J Dapper, Dapper Companies