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The City of Las Vegas has voted to demolish the remaining buildings on the historic Moulin Rouge property.
“The message to the county was they had stepped into a process that they weren’t familiar with,” she said.
Duncan said the county admitted it didn't realize where the project was in the legal process and had been misled about how many developers were interested in creating a project on the historic site.
The Moulin Rouge was the first integrated resort when it opened in 1955, but it only lasted about six months before it closed. Duncan said there was no reason given for the closure, but others have cited both the institutional racism of the time and an economic downturn for why the doors closed.
Over the years, developers have tried to revive the casino and hotel, but nothing has come together. Everything from the Great Recession to struggles with gaming and liquor licenses has been blamed but Duncan had another reason.
“It has not been allowed to be open and we think its racism,” she said.
She said she has seen lots of developers work to get the doors back open on the property and many of those developers had millions of dollars but "when they get to the city, that's when development stops."
Duncan said she has sat in meetings where city officials have persuaded her clients to invest in a different piece of property.
“There is no government support for the redevelopment of the Moulin Rouge as a resort property," she said.
Now, that the buildings are coming down and the area is preparing for a new development, Duncan believes the neighborhood needs more than just one new building on the site.
“Developing the Moulin Rouge by itself is just the first step," she said, "We’re looking for a complete Historic Westside District Development”
She is optimistic that improvements will finally move forward because the city and the county are talking to each other about what is next.
Duncan said there are lots of great ideas about what to do to improve the property and create an entire Westside District but they need support from local government.
“Unless our government can show these people that are bringing money or trying to bring money into our neighborhood that they support them they’ll probably back away”
The county commission will talk about its plan for the site at a meeting November 21.
Katherine Duncan, president, Ward 5 Chamber of Commerce
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