We might've bet that a certain well-heeled downtown booster would have been the one to put the first Save the Huntridge fundraising campaign over the top. But instead, it appears that four other famously rich Las Vegans took the counter past $150,000.
An undisclosed amount credited to Vegas-based megaband The Killers came in an hour ago, just two-and-a-half days before the Indiegogo crowdfunding push to raise the initial money expired. While a few other undisclosed donations, and one $5,000 gift, came just before it, the social media sequence of status updates implies that the project was just a few thousand dollars short before the rockers pushed it all past the finish line.
We'll now amend our wager: We think a renovated Huntridge just found its opening night act. But alas, The Huntridge has a long ways to go.
The three men behind the project -- downtown-focused entrepreneurs Michael Cornthwaite, Joey Vanas and Rehan Choudry -- started the crowdfunding promotion to gauge community interest in revitalizing the long-decaying building, currently owned by the Mizrachi family that also owns the furniture store adjacent to the south-of-downtown theater, which first opened in 1944. It was suggested that deep-pocket investors needed to see significant support from those most eager to see the Huntridge return to its former glory, if they were to jump in themselves. After the three men gave the Mizrachis an intent-to-buy payment of $60,000, they set a $150,000 crowdfunding goal, with the obligatory donation perks to motivate activity. The Indiegogo money was earmarked for exploratory measures such as architectural plans.
Upon the announcement of the project, naysayers and skeptics voiced their protestations to the plans, most of them distrustful of three businessmen taking the reins of an historical property and questioning why the trio refused to apply for non-profit status given the campaign. Others raised the issue of gentrification, a hot-button issue since the redevelopment of East Fremont Street and the Arts District. Some of that clatter has since quieted down, especially after a recent town-hall forum with the participants and the nearby community.
Now comes the hard part: amassing the estimated $15 million it will take to fully purchase and renovate the property. The project heads may find themselves reaching out to Brandon Flowers and company again, before the Huntridge can reopen its doors.