It has stood empty and vacant since 2004, a shell of its former self hardly recognizable as the performance arts venue that it used to be during the height of its glory days.
No, we’re not talking about Paris Hilton’s bedroom.
We’re talking about the corner lot on Maryland Parkway and Charleston Boulevard, where the vibrant Huntridge Theater once stood. The sign towering over the abandoned structure still reads Huntridge, but the rusty gates and empty marquee belies the reality: there’s no one home.
Since housing its last rock performance in 2004, this space has stood vacant, left to fall slowing into decline. Owned by the Mizrachis, the 67-year old structure – built in 1944 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places – has recently been denied a reprieve from its decline by the city’s Planning Commission. The issue? The Mizrachis wanted to give the structure a new life as a secondhand store, which requires a special-use permit. By and large, though, neighbors weren’t at all pleased.
Complaints from nearby residents started pouring in, and the negative outcry essentially all boiled down to one mantra: a secondhand store will devalue the neighborhood in an area that’s trying to be more upscale. The city’s Planning Commission ultimately agreed, voting 7-0 against the granting of the permit.
Has anyone seen the corner of Maryland Parkway and Charleston? The reality is that trying and wanting to be upscale is all fine and dandy; however, actually developing the area to that endgame is going to take a lot more than just wishful thinking. It’s a step by step process. The proposed secondhand store, according to the Mizrachis, would have been a haven for selling vintage jewelry and other collectible products, which in all actuality sounds like a step up in terms of improvements over existing nearby properties.
Yet there seems to be a certain stubbornness from nearby residents and the Planning Commission that’s dictating the structure needs to have some intrinsic creative value, like an art museum or community center.
So, let’s get this straight – the city itself of Las Vegas can barely have an art museum to call its own, needing to rely on various artists residency programs to get its art fix, yet nearby residents expect that Huntridge’s old space should be the next artistic hotspot Bellagio?
Time for a reality check: a special use permit would have granted the structure a reprieve from demolition. Now it stands to be demolished in 2017.
For updates and discussion, visit the Huntridge Theater Fan Page on Facebook.
Born in France and raised in SoCal, Dorian Issock’s reviews, blogs and other literary tidbits appear in Desert Companion Magazine, The New Colonist, Urban Art, and scores of online destinations across the internet.