The Big Empire, the Huntridge and a Preservation Summit

Well, the tempature is creeping back up towards 100, so that can only mean there must be lots of activities this weekend.

This afternoon I am giving a tour of Historic Fremont Street to the Big Empire.  Every Joone these lovers of Classic Las Vegas converge in town for their annual Soiree, courtesy of Matt Weatherford.  They are a great bunch and I am looking forward to seeing them again.

Tomorrow in Boulder City is a historic preservation summit.  Many of the historic preservation groups, Friends of Classic Las Vegas, Atomic Age Alliance, VeryVintageVegas, as well as city and county officials will be there.  Heather MacIntosh, from Washington DC, will be there to talk more about her group and how we can possibly all work together.

Tomorrow night is dinner with the Big Empire group followed by a party at Dr. Lonnie Hammergren's house where he will be unveiling his new Howard Hughes collection.

I'll report back with all the fun and all the facts.

Earlier this week, the Save the Huntridge Community Group leaders (Brian Paco Alvarez, Parm Hartley, Jack LeVine and myself) met with Huntridge owner, Eli Mizrachil.

Eli took a road trip a few weeks ago to Ventura Blvd in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California.  In Studio City he saw the La Reina theater.  This former S. Charles Lee designed theater closed back in the late 1980s.  It had a beautiful marquee filled with neon and a box office straight out of a movie set.  The theater underwent an adaptive re-use in the early 1990s when it became a Bookstar.  After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, it suffered some damage and had to be retrofitted.  Today it is a major day spa surrounded by various retail stores and restaurants.

I mention all this because seeing the La Reina inspired Eli to think outside the box.  His plans for the Huntridge are amazing.  He ties all three buildings (the former theater, the former bank/mattress store and the former Post Office) quite elegantly.  The lobby of the theater would be the flow-through where people could access the courtyard in the back.  The second story of the theater would become professional office space.  Below would be a mix of retail and restaurants.

The building would be saved, the pylon would be saved and the neon would be restored and relit atop the pylon.

In front, facing Charleston Blvd, would be two pads for a fast-food type place and a Starbucks type place.  Both would be done in the architecture of streamline-moderne to accent the main building.

Eli and his team are hoping to have an unveiling of these plans on First Friday next month.  We will keep you posted about the when and where.

In the meantime, this is, by far, the best idea that we have seen for the Huntridge so far.  It has the power to not only re-energize the building but the entire neighborhood surrounding it.

Here's hoping!