October 12, 2017 - 6:14 pm
Updated October 13, 2017 - 11:46 am
Receiver Kevin Hanchett is recommending a judge choose Clark County’s bid to buy the historic former Moulin Rouge property.
The county bid $6.2 million, plus demolition costs estimated to total $2 million, Hanchett said Thursday.
A judge is expected to soon make a decision on who will own the storied Bonanza Road property, the site of the first racially integrated hotel-casino in Las Vegas. Four groups have bid on the site, and all but the county want to bring back the Moulin Rouge.
“Sometimes it’s all about economics,” Hanchett said of the judge’s ultimate decision. “Sometimes it’s not.”
County spokesman Dan Kulin said last month the property in west Las Vegas was being eyed for the county Family Services department main administrative offices. If the county prevails, the historical significance of the site, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, would be recognized, Kulin said.
The decision was delayed last month because the bidders were submitting enhanced offers, and Hanchett didn’t have enough time to let creditors know, he said.
Real Estate Management Services LLC wants a full revitalization of the Moulin Rouge, with what project facilitator Alan Glover called “a heavy level of modernity.”
The company initially submitted a $6.2 million bid. Hanchett said the company did not respond to a request to cover demolition costs, but Glover told the Review-Journal that Real Estate Management Services is willing to pay for demolition. The group has a master plan for the site that will include entertainment, empowerment, employment, education and beautification, Glover said.
Another group, Spec Homes, has been working alongside the Ward 5 Chamber of Commerce on a plan for the site. Katherine Duncan, the chamber president, is a proponent of a Moulin Rouge revival.
Duncan has said she envisions a multifaceted development at the site, including an African American cultural center and museum, a hospitality training facility, a motel and shopping center. The group increased their bid to $5 million, said they would cover the demolition costs and shortened the timeframe to close on the property to 90 days, Hanchett said.
Former Nevada Assemblyman Harvey Munford, chairman of the Ward 5 Chamber of Commerce, urged Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez in a letter to choose Spec Homes’ bid.
“We believe that under the circumstances we are the best and rightful buyer for this property although offers may be higher,” Munford wrote.
Las Vegas Moulin Rouge LLC bid $8 million and said it would cover demolition costs, but because of the company’s past financial issues, Hanchett requested it put a deposit down along with its bid. It was unable to do that, Hanchett said.
“In effect, they dropped out,” he said.
Scott Johnson, of Las Vegas Moulin Rouge, said his investors are offering $8 million cash for the property. Johnson contended his group wasn’t required to put up a deposit because of the cash offer.
“We can go higher if needed,” Johnson said.
The Moulin Rouge’s brief heyday in the 1950s was cut short. The 15-acre Bonanza Road property has since been the site of decades worth of failed redevelopment attempts and fires. The most recent blaze tore through what remained of the Moulin Rouge building last week, prompting the city of Las Vegas to tear down the structure that burned. Other vacant buildings, where homeless people sometimes seek shelter, remain on the 15-acre site.