Monday, May 19, 2014 | 6:11 p.m.
Questions about the risk Las Vegas might take on if it invests $1 million in historic Huntridge Theater fell to impassioned speeches from neighbors about the importance of the 70-year-old building to downtown’s reignited neighborhoods.
After a three-hour meeting of the Commission for the Las Vegas Centennial, commissioners unanimously voted to grant $1 million to the city, which intends to use the money to help preserve the building at Maryland Parkway and Charleston Boulevard.
The next step will be a ratification by the City Council at a future meeting.
Huntridge Revival LLC, founded by Michael Cornthwaite and Joey Vanas, wants to renovate the building. The two had a difficult time finding private investors, especially after the state filed a lawsuit against the building’s current owners for violating covenants they had with the state.
Addressing commissioners, Vanas said a $1 million investment by the city would give confidence to private investors who have had reservations about jumping in due to the lawsuit.
The cost to purchase the building has been estimated at $4 million, with another $11 million expected to renovate it into a theater, restaurant, classrooms and more.
Councilman Bob Coffin, who sits on the commission, said, “I feel it’s our last chance to save this landmark … This is a very, very serious moment. We are on the edge of the rubicon and I want to cross and make it happen.”
One gnawing questions was voiced by Mayor Carolyn Goodman: Where is downtown investor and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh?
“If you haven’t gone to Tony Hsieh about it, there is someone so instrumental in preserving downtown,” she told Cornthwaite and Vanas.
Hsieh’s Downtown Project is investing $350 million in downtown, most of it near east Fremont Street.
Reached via text, Hsieh replied that DTP is focused on the Fremont Street area. Because of that, he added, he hasn’t been following the Huntridge Theater matter and knew little about it.