Thursday, Nov. 7, 2019 | 1:48 p.m.
The Las Vegas City Council unanimously approved a $4 million sale of the Huntridge Theater on Wednesday, jump-starting a months-long process that will end in a final deal and a plan for the historic property’s future.
Developer J Dapper will buy the property from its current owner, local businessman Eli Mizrachi of King George LLC. Although the city won’t shoulder any costs, it will remain involved in the project for at least the next six months to resolve issues associated with the building, city attorney Brad Jerbic said.
“There’s a lot of things that need to be worked out,” Dapper said. “This is a very old building.”
There are a number of historical covenants attached to the shuttered, 75-year-old building by which Dapper will need to abide until at least 2028, Jerbic said. Dapper will be required to maintain and preserve the property, allow a state representative to inspect the property at all reasonable times and to keep it open no less than 12 days per year.
If Dapper seeks to alter the property, he will need approval from the State Historic Preservation Office, Jerbic said.
Dapper said he plans to keep the property as some type of theater, performance space or arts hub. He has no intention of turning it into something far removed from its original, community-oriented use.
“My interest isn’t to come in and save a piece or a part of the theater, it’s to save the entire theater,” he said.
The property is subject to a lawsuit from the state Historic Preservation Office, which alleges that King George, LLC allowed the theater to fall into disrepair. The city will request through the suit that a court-appointed special master be the one tasked with inspecting the theater and reporting back to the court on its conditions over the next six months, Jerbic said.
“The special master as approved by the court is going to be in the theater, looking at it, seeing what (Dapper) is doing, ad seeing what the city is doing and if we’re following the permitting process, because there’s a lot that remains to be done,” Jerbic explained.
The city intervened in the purchase-and-sale agreement to make it easier for Dapper as he navigates applications for entitlements and other rights to the property, Jerbic said. It also allowed the city to become a party in the lawsuit, Jerbic said.
“If this lawsuit is not resolved, it’s going to be a permanent obstruction to the eventual reconditioning, refurbishing and reopening of the Huntridge Theater,” he said.
Dapper said he will listen to and consult the community on his plans for the property. Without the city’s help, the sale would likely not have been possible, he added.
Daniel Roberts, president of the Huntridge Foundation, and Heidi Swank, executive director of the Nevada Preservation Foundation, said they look forward to seeing Dapper breathe new life into the theater, which has been closed since 2004.
“We are in support of Mr. Dapper taking on this project,” Swank said. “We know that buildings that have been left vacant for too long, and this one has been left vacant for too long, are harder and harder to rehabilitate.”
Ward 3 Councilwoman Olivia Diaz, whose ward includes the theater, said her constituents are thrilled to see something done about the Huntridge.
“I think this brings a lot of joy and excitement to my neighbors of the Huntridge area,” Diaz said.
Ward 5 Councilman Cedric Crear said he has confidence in Dapper’s ability to do justice to the property. A principal at Dapper Companies, Dapper is already overseeing the renovation of Huntridge Circle Park one block away from the theater.
“I think we have a great developer who is going to do something great and has taken ownership of the entire neighborhood,” Crear said.