Posted: October 27, 2022, 10:52 a.m.
Last update: October 27, 2022, 11:08 a.m.
A new investor on the Las Vegas scene says it wants to finance the reconstruction of the Moulin Rouge hotel-casino. Trypto Business Solutions, a local technology consulting group, says it will invest $2 billion in the project on behalf of Las Vegas Moulin Rouge Holdings. This is the holding company that announced several failed attempts to rebuild the nation’s first racially integrated hotel-casino, where it once stood at 900 W. Bonanza Road.
The Moulin Rouge was demolished in 2017, despite being historically designated, after three fires on the property rendered the remaining structure unstable.
If this scenario sounds familiar, it’s because in 2016, Las Vegas Moulin Rouge Holdings made a similar announcement. This plan concerned the financing he had obtained to acquire the land and rebuild the Moulin Rouge. He even hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the building which never took place. Since then, BBC Capital, an Australia-based investment firm, bought the land in 2020.
“Our original funding partnership fell through and we were constantly trying to re-establish it,” said Scott Johnson of Las Vegas Moulin Rouge Holdings. KSNV-TV/Las Vegas. “Now we feel we have the support to move forward on the project.”
Trypto says it is also providing part of the funding for the $4.9 billion All Net Resort and Arena on the Las Vegas Strip, proposed by former UNLV basketball player Jackie Robinson. Unfortunately, Robinson also has a track record of applying for funding that never materializes.
Why the Moulin Rouge matters
Las Vegas was an entirely segregated city before the Moulin Rouge opened on May 24, 1955. People of color could work in hotels on the Strip, but only as cooks, maids and janitors – jobs “at the back of the house” where they passed largely unseen. They couldn’t even stay there. This was true even for black headliners including Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole and Ella Fitzgerald.
A taste of how far we have come as a society is provided by this sentence on the Moulin Rouge, published by Variety in 1955: “This unusual place continues to attract the sect of gambling, which does not worry in the least about rubbing elbows and dice in a mixed society.”
The opening of the $3.5 million hotel-casino – by a group of white investors led by Will Max Schwartz (38% ownership share), Louis Rubin (29%) and Alexander Bisno (31% ) – did not end Las Vegas’ racist politics, but represented the official start of their disbandment.
Why the Moulin Rouge closed
The hotel-casino seemed a complete success. Yet it only operated for six months before being shut down. Mystery surrounds the exact reason. Some historians point to unpaid debts or the insolvency of its owners. Others blamed gangsters who owned competing hotels.
The building stood for another 48 years, serving as a motel, a public apartment complex, and finally a flophouse. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992, but three fires – in 2003, 2009 and 2017 – destroyed the already crumbling structure. In 2010, the hotel-casino tower was demolished, followed by the rest of the ruins in 2017 – after more than 200 homeless people were found living inside. Today, only one retaining wall remains and the iconic sign is now on permanent display in the Neon Boneyard at the Neon Museum.
keep hope alive
Whether Moulin Rouge Holdings can acquire the property this time, Johnson said, he intends to use plans presented to the community in a 2016 showing the reimagined Moulin Rouge with a 200-room tower and a full casino.
“Everything is still in place since 2016,” Johnson said. KSNV. “We have the same architect, Mr. Ed Vance. Same architect, same management team, everything is in place.