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Moulin Rouge going back on sale after developer misses deadline

The site of the first racially integrated casino in Las Vegas will be offered again to prospective buyers after the developer under contract to purchase the property struggled with financing.

California-based Spec Builders USA Inc., which had plans to revive the Moulin Rouge and construct a civil rights museum on the 15-acre Bonanza Road site, did not meet a recent deadline to present a $200,000 good-faith deposit after requesting an extension to close the $9.5 million purchase, Kevin Hanchett, the court-appointed receiver, said Thursday.

Hanchett said he has contacted all parties that previously expressed interest in buying the property, sent out generic purchase and sale agreements, provided a baseline figure for what must be paid and set a Jan. 15 deadline to submit offers. Investors must put $6.5 million into escrow as part of purchase requirements.

“We need to obviously go through the process of court approval once the buyer comes in,” he said.

Several months after winning the latest bid for the historic site located in the city’s Ward 5, Spec Builders USA representatives could not close the deal.

Katherine Duncan, the president of the Ward 5 Chamber of Commerce, said Thursday she believed other investors would respond by the deadline but that the project’s success will ultimately hinge on city buy-in.

“They have to put the same spirit behind the Moulin Rouge as they did the Mob Museum,” Duncan said, “and that’s how they get this project built.”

The delayed redevelopment effort is a familiar refrain for the embattled property, which has fallen into disrepair.

The site has been under the guardianship of a receiver for years as investors wait for payouts from a sale.

Spec Builders USA was one of four prospective buyers previously approved by a judge, District Court records show.

After winning a $6.2 million bid last year over three others, Clark County backed out from constructing a new government building amid fierce criticism from the community.

Three crimson columns are among few remnants today of the Moulin Rouge’s short-lived heyday in 1955. Five years later, the closed site hosted the meeting that effectively ended segregation in Las Vegas casinos.

In 1992, the Moulin Rouge was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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