Las Vegans living near the historic Huntridge Theatre applauded last week as the city’s Planning Commission voted down a request to grant owners a special-use permit for a secondhand store. The residents’ reaction struck me as odd, since without some new action, the 67-year-old building at the corner of Maryland and Charleston will continue to decay until the covenants guarding its preservation expire in 2017. And yet, neighbors argued ardently against Cima Mizrachi’s plan to sell used furniture and jewelry in a space that’s been sitting vacant since its final rock show in 2004.
Concerns over the owners’ upkeep of the property appear quite legitimate, so passage of any proposal should come with provisions for basic improvements. But several residents’ reasoning that the Huntridge be utilized only for “creative” purposes—an art museum, a community center, a rebuilt music venue—reminded me of a piece I wrote in this publication ... in 2006, before our economy crumbled. Today, that well-intentioned but unrealistic thinking seems destined to hasten the building’s demolition. And then? The Mizrachis might open some retail outlet on their corner anyway.
Granting the latest plan wouldn’t have been exciting, but it could have gotten the ball rolling, prodded the owners to spruce up the place a bit and, just maybe, helped the Huntridge stave off the wrecking ball.