There was a brief reprieve while supporters of the Moulin Rouge looked for a last-ditch way to salvage something from the historic property, but what's left of Southern Nevada's first racially integrated casino is again set to be razed.
The Las Vegas City Council on Wednesday unanimously turned away an appeal of the demolition permit .
A destruction date hasn't been set, but it could be soon, said an attorney representing the property owners.
"We knew it was an uphill battle," said Pat Hershwitzky, who appealed the demolition permit on behalf of the Moulin Rouge Museum and Cultural Center, a nonprofit that wanted to open a museum should the Moulin Rouge be rebuilt.
"I do believe that the city will live to regret this, just another thing they've knocked down," Hershwitzky said.
Taking the city to court is an option, she said, but "who has the funding?"
The decision allows the demolition of the hotel's facade and tower with a guard shack and two dilapidated signs.
"This is a sad moment in the city's history," said Mayor Oscar Goodman, who called the demolition "a terrible shame."
"There's no question that the Moulin Rouge has stood as a beacon," he said. "However, Councilman (Ricki) Barlow has been adamant, and I concur, that that area of Bonanza has to be developed."
The current owners acquired the property near Bonanza Road and H Street through foreclosure and are trying to sell it. Having a clean site is important to that goal, Barlow said.
"This site has become a real blight to the community," he said. "We have plans to move forward to bring some infrastructure and development. ... It starts with cleaning up these dilapidated sites."
Pieces of the remaining structures might be salvaged, and the iconic sign is already in storage at the Neon Museum, whose operators hope to restore it and find it a permanent home.
Those fighting the demolition said they need more time to find out what can be saved and where to put it.
"We believe that there's still substantial structure there to be saved and renovated," Hershwitzky said. "I hope you will at least consider a stay so we can save the remnants."
The current owners, Olympic Coast Investments, took over the property when a previous plan to redevelop the hotel-casino fell through. Goodman and Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese said that they have attended several groundbreakings at the property for projects that eventually evaporated.
The Moulin Rouge opened in 1955 as the valley's first racially integrated casino but closed before the end of the year. It was the location of a 1960 meeting that effectively ended segregation in Las Vegas' casinos.
It was used on and off again in the ensuing years, but a 2003 fire destroyed much of the property, and a fire last year did more damage.
The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and that listing could be in danger when the structures are removed. However, delisting is a lengthy process that someone must request, said Courtney Mooney, the city's historic preservation officer.
Jory Schoell, an attorney representing the owners, said they are not interested in trying to remove the property's historic listing.
Even if it is taken away, he said, "it doesn't change what happened on the property or the fact that it's a historic property."
Contact reporter Alan Choate at achoate@ reviewjournal.com or 702-229-6435.