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August 29, 2015

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Joe Downtown: ‘Pawn Stars’ in for $25,000 to help save Huntridge Theater

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Joe Elbert

Rick “The Spotter” Harrison (far left), Austin “Chumlee” Russell, Richard “The Old Man” Harrison and Corey “Big Hoss” Harrison at Gold & Silver Pawn.

Gold & Silver Pawn: Pawn Stars

Visitors line up outside Gold & Silver Pawn in Las Vegas on Wednesday, June 15, 2011. The pawnshop is the home of the reality-TV hit Launch slideshow »
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The Huntridge, during its movie-theater era.

The guys from the local pawn shop who have become national cable TV sensations with “Pawn Stars” have come through in a big way for the Huntridge Theater.

The show’s stars — Rick Harrison, Richard Benjamin Harrison, Corey Harrison and Austin “Chumlee” Russell — have given $25,000 to a fundraising campaign to save the Huntridge, bringing the total amount raised over roughly three weeks to $57,000.

That means Huntridge Revival LLC, whose partners are downtown businessman Michael Cornthwaite, Joey Vanas and Rehan Choudry, will be able to make the next $50,000 payment to the Mizrachi family, which owns the 69-year-old building at the corner of Maryland Parkway and Charleston Boulevard.

The ultimate goal of the indiegogo.com campaign is $125,000, which would go toward additional expenses such as soil testing, inspections and architectural renderings. There are now 21 days left of the online crowdsourcing campaign to reach that amount.

Cornthwaite said, however, it wasn’t just the money that was important. The three partners need to see numbers of people, which will give both them and potential investors a sense of the community’s interest in resurrecting one of the oldest buildings in Las Vegas.

“We’d like to see thousands of contributions of even very small amounts,” Cornthwaite said Wednesday. As of Wednesday morning, 297 contributions had been made.

A larger number of contributors might be signing up in a few short days, however, as a benefit concert to save the Huntridge is planned Saturday in the old theater’s parking lot.

Food trucks, street artists and seven bands, at last count, will serve, create and play from 6 p.m. until midnight. Donations of $10 to $20 to the indiegogo campaign will be suggested, though the event is free.

The actual resurrection of the old building, if the $125,000 goal is met, will take much more time and money. Huntridge Revival LLC said it had agreed to buy the building for $4 million; then it expects another $11 million in renovations to get the building in working order. At a town hall meeting about the Huntridge a week ago, some estimated the cost could be double that amount.

The “Pawn Stars” stars are local pawn shop owners-made-good through their engaging show on The History Channel. The store, Gold & Silver Pawn, 713 Las Vegas Blvd. South, is just a half-mile northwest of the Huntridge. Each episode of the show delves somewhat into history, as the shop operators seek advice on old objects then barter to buy them.

If or when the Huntridge is finished, the building will cater to live performances, independent movies, eateries, classes for the arts and more. Cornthwaite is adamant that he and his partners want more input from the public about what kind of programs people want for the building.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts building.

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