2019.08.06

West Las Vegas Approves $1.6B Moulin Rouge Casino Redux, but Deadline for Funding Is Near

A group of investors who intend to restore Moulin Rouge in Las Vegas, the legendary property that was the first unifying casino which changed Southern Nevada’s racial politics and civil rights, have provisionally bought the historic site.

The property that closed in late 1955 has been endorsed for a $9.5 million bid from a local body named Moulin Rouge LLC by Kevin Hanchett, the court-appointed receiver for the property. Moulin Rouge LLC was back in the reckoning when two years ago the project developers’ bid for the 15 acre venue was unsuccessful and after the annulment of Clark County’s winning offer, due to repercussions about its intention to construct a government building.

A complete investment of $1.6 billion is proposed by the company, with the initial phase being a $400 million Moulin Rouge Hotel & Casino including a poolside nightclub, two restaurants, sportsbook, a 400 room high-rise Tower and convention center.

Hanchett has given the company Tuesday, as the deadline to pay the full $9.5 million into an escrow account, owing to its earlier failures in funding. “Earlier promises have not been kept. Hence, the short time,” as told to the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Following a bankrupt in 2008 of the land’s development, Hanchett became the property’s receiver. More than a decade later, investors are still due millions of dollars.

New Regional Neighborhood

In the short span of less than five months of its functioning, Moulin Rouge was instrumental in ending racial discrimination across Las Vegas.

With investment funding from African American boxing legend Joe Louis and built by two white businessmen the hotel opened  in 1955, but blacks were prohibited from walking into casinos on the nearby strip. Though black entertainers like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole were allowed to perform at the celebrated spots, they had to find a hotel someplace else to spend the night.

The address of Moulin Rouge was 900 West Bonanza Road in West Las Vegas. It has historically been a vast African American neighborhood.

Scott Johnson, Moulin Rouge LLC principal says that “The remnant of Las Vegas has crossed over to the other side of town”. The new Moulin Rouge will be the showpiece of the site he’s christened “Uptown Las Vegas” he adds.

Purchase of an adjoining property and land to construct entertainment spots including an arena with a 12,000 seating arrangement, casino, office area and hotel, and cost of which will be tentatively $1.2 billion, will cover Phases II and III.

A New Bidder

For a site that is by and large not tourist friendly or having a proper pedestrian footfall, a $1.6 billion proposition is quite a bold development.

“Living the American Dream. One Day at a Time” states Johnson’s LinkedIn bio. “Self Employed and Loving It!” declares his “President” title.

Another option for the Moulin Rouge site has been preferred by African American, Harvey Munford, a Former Nevada Assemblyman (D-Clark County). As per RJ, Anderson Capital Fund intends to build a casino and hotel on the site and it has submitted a $9.9 million offer for the land earlier this month.

As per Anderson’s plan, the property would be used for miscellaneous purposes including space for a casino for the substantial black neighbourhood. If Johnson’s team cannot produce the $9.5 million bid by Tuesday, Anderson could be back in the bidding fray.