Thursday, Oct. 17, 2019 | 12:40 p.m.
A Las Vegas developer plans to buy and revive the shuttered Huntridge Theater, possibly into a performing arts theater instead of a movie house, sources said.
The 75-year-old theater is a downtown Las Vegas landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Closed by its current owners in 2004, the theater has since become a de facto homeless encampment.
Local real estate guru J Dapper will buy the theater, with the city facilitating the purchase, said city spokesperson Jace Radke.
Additional details about the sale and plans for the property were not immediately available. But city attorney Brad Jerbic said it would “probably not be a movie theater, but it likely will be a performing theater of a different kind.”
The purchase and sale agreement will be presented to the Las Vegas City Council for approval on Nov. 6, Jerbic told the council Wednesday. Pending approval from the council, the city will assign the agreement to Dapper, who will bear the full costs of the sale.
Dapper, principal at Dapper Companies, is already overseeing the renovation of Huntridge Circle Park one block away from the theater. He may be working with a separate or additional developer, Radke said. Dapper could not immediately be reached for comment.
Built by prominent modernist architect S. Charles Lee, the Huntridge was taken over by the nonprofit Friends of the Huntridge Theatre in the 1990s. The group sold it to the current owner, Eli Mizrachi of King George, LLC, in 2002, who ran it as a concert venue until 2004. Since then, Mizrachi has violated covenants on the property due to its historic status and allowed it to fall into disrepair, the state has alleged in court.
A phone call and text message to Mizrachi were not immediately returned.
The state has spent over $1.5 million to preserve the building as effectively as possible, said Bob Stoldal, chair of the Nevada Board of Museums and History. Because of the theater's historic nature, there will be restrictions on the structural changes that the new developers can make to its interior and exterior.
Stoldal nonetheless sees great potential for the reuse of the property.
“There are many ways, many models for adaptive reuse of the building,” he wrote in an email. “Take a look at the old downtown federal building. It is alive and well as the Mob Museum. There are buildings all around Las Vegas that started as one business, and have been reused, repurposed as another.”
Daniel Roberts, president of the nonprofit Huntridge Foundation that has long advocated for redevelopment of the theater, said he is pleased that the property has finally been purchased after being closed for 15 years. He is now “cautiously optimistic” about its future.
“Once we get those owners out and get new ones in, I’m very happy for what the future holds for the Huntridge,” he said. “It can’t be much worse than what it is now.”