Breaking News: Las Vegas Centennial Commission supports Huntridge Revival!

Congrats to Michael Cornthwaite and the Huntridge Revival Group! They have managed a major breakthrough!

The Las Vegas Centennial Commission has awarded a $1 Million grant to the Historic Huntridge Revival Group!

This means that work can continue on saving the building and renovating it!

Las Vegas Gaming Pioneer Jackie Gaughan has died

UPDATE 3/15/14: While Jackie will be buried in Omaha, Nebraska, there will be a visitation and memorial for him in the city he loved: Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Sunday, March 16, followed by a brief scripture reading, both at Palm Mortuary, 1325 N. Main St. The funeral Mass will be 11 a.m. Monday, March 17, at St. Viator's Church, 2461 E. Flamingo Road. Burial will be in Omaha. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Bishop Gorman High School, 5959 Hualapai Way, Las Vegas, NV 89148. 

Jackie Gaughan gambling at his beloved El Cortez

Jackie Gaughan gambling at his beloved El Cortez

Las Vegas gaming pioneer Jackie Gaughan has died. Best known for owning the El Cortez and the Las Vegas Club, among others, during the hey day of Fremont Street, Jackie was a well-known figure to many.

Jackie Gaughan first came to Las Vegas in 1943 when he was stationed at the old air base at what is now Nellis during World War II. 

He moved his wife Roberta and two sons,Michael and Jackie, jr to Las Vegas in 1951.  He bought a small 3% of the Boulder Club and 3% of the Flamingo with partner Eddie Barrick. Jackie had a knack for sports books and handicapping.  In 1961, he and partner Mel Exber bought the Las Vegas Club and in 1963, they bought the El Cortez.  Gaughan hired Wayne McAllister to oversee the design and construction of a new room tower.

Jackie invented the Fun Book, filled with coupons for free drinks, free slot pulls and two for one dinners.  Like Benny Binion, he had a knack for understanding and treating his customers like kings.

At one time, he owned or had a part in eight  casinos, including the Union Plaza and the Showboat,  as well as owning the Ambassador Motel.

John L. Smith, long time observer of Las Vegas and columnist for the Review-Journal wrote several years ago about Jackie:

"At one time or another, Jackie has owned or had a hand in operating most of the buildings of Fremont Street. An incomplete list: Jackie Gaughan's Plaza, and a partnership with Exber in the Las Vegas Club, the Pioneer and Sundance; he was a major stockholder and board member of the Golden Nugget, and he owned the Gold Spike and Western Bingo, and the Bingo Club and Boulder Club.

Jackie also owned several points in the Showboat and the Flamingo, but as son Michael Gaughan says, "Dad was a downtown guy. He never understood why people would build neighborhood casinos. He liked downtown. And my dad always did well with the local citizens. Even the El Cortez does well today. He's probably had more gaming licenses than anybody else."

And the thing is, Jackie knew his places intimately, visited them daily wearing his plaid sport coats and a sunny disposition. Jackie was never too big to pick up an empty glass or clean an ashtray."

Those of us who grew up in Las Vegas back in the hey day of Fremont Street, it wasn't uncommon to see casino owners like Jackie and Benny Binion in their casinos or coffee shops keeping an eye on business.

As he got older, Jackie sold off a number of his properties but he kept his beloved El Cortez. He and his wife Roberta, who passed away in 1996, lived in the penthouse and Jackie could be seen at the gaming tables and walking through the casino.

When he finally did retire, he sold the El Cortez to the Epstein family. Kenny Epstein, one of Jackie's partners since the 1950s, his son and Jackie's nephew Mike Nolan became the official owners of the venerable downtown casino and hotel. 

Rather than give the El Cortez a make over and totally change the tenor of the place, they instead invested in renovating the existing facade and kept the El Cortez as she was, just cleaned up and looking ready for another sixty years of doing business.

Jackie lived to see his beloved El Cortez become a registered Historical Landmark.

Downtown and Fremont Street, especially, today, seem not quite so bright. The light of the El Cortez has gone dark

RIP, Jackie Gaughan and thanks for all you did!.

Help save the Huntridge Theater

 

The Huntridge Theater may be the most beloved historic landmark in Las Vegas. But over the last decade, the community that loves it has watched it helplessly fall into a seeming final state of disrepair.  We plan to bring this Theatre back to all its glory and more, and make it once again Las Vegas' favorite venue for performing arts and community programming.

 

We want to end this madness, and bring The Huntridge back for the people that love it. 

Members of the downtown Vegas business community who are behind this effort recognize that many attempts to do this have failed despite concerted efforts and massive, long-term community support, and this might be the last shot to save it (covenants on the property expire in 2017). But the tools for organizing community engagement and support have evolved so much, so quickly -- we can do this.

Even if we raise this campaign’s full amount and end up with $150,000 or more, that’s obviously not even close to enough to buy, lovingly renovate, and reopen the Huntridge.

But! It will prove that community support exists to justify much larger private investment in a project that is motivated more by passion than just profits. Buying the Huntridge and renovating it could cost up to $15 million, so if we can show interested investors how much the community still cares about the Huntridge by raising the first 1% of the money from its fans, and in doing so pass smaller initial financial hurdles that are beyond our personal means, we are confident that this show of community support will preface a beautiful revival of the greatest music and arts venue Vegas has ever known.

Nostalgic Huntridge-lovers of all stripes, this is where you come in: Help us prove that community support is there, by funding the important pre-work of this iconic revival project!!!

 

What do we need the money for?

We extended all our financial resources to come up with the first $60k for the non-refundable deposit and appraisals to make this process possible. The next chunk of deposit ($50k) is due immediately after this campaign ends, and we have an estimated $100k of required costs before we can start bringing in (already very interested) private investors for the project. These costs include remediation due diligence, environmental certifications, appraisals, legal work, renovation design work and marketing materials, etc, all by the end of the summer. These start-up costs would normally be much more for a project of this magnitude, but we expect that we'll be able to get it all done very efficiently thanks to many tentative offers we've received to volunteer professional services.  Estimated costs are as follows:

$20k - Due Diligence / Feasibility Studies  

$15k - Marketing / Web Development / Admin

$50k - Architectural / Design / Engineering

$15k - Inspections / Appraisals / admin

$50k - Second Deposit

$150k Total Start-up Capital Required

 

Who are you? 

This IndieGoGo campaign was initiated by The Huntridge Revival, LLC, which was founded by Downtown Las Vegas community members Joey Vanas, Michael Cornthwaite, and Rehan Choudhry, and adopted by members of #startupblock, a group of tech entrepreneurs living near The Huntridge.

 

Are contributions tax-deductible?

No, Huntridge Revival is an LLC because this campaign is only a necessary first step towards raising up to $15MM in total investment and it needs to also attract private investors and be able to show returns.  Because it is not a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization contributions are not tax-deductible.  To avoid ever rehashing its current fate if we do nothing, the Huntridge does need to sustain itself financially once reopened (while keeping ticket and food and beverage costs affordable). 

More details about the campaign and the Huntridge can be found at Save.TheHuntridge.com!