The Moulin Rouge, the first desegregated hotel and casino in Las Vegas, could return to its former glory and more if the city approves a $1.6 billion proposal to revitalize the area on Bonanza Road close to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
Las Vegas Moulin Rouge LLC first needs to buy the property for $9.5 million, and plans to deposit funds into an escrow account by Tuesday to prove it has the funding to move forward on a three-phase plan to bring a hotel, casino, restaurant and buffet, poolside nightclub, lounges, showroom, retail, spa, jazz center, and sports betting to the site.
Phase one and phase two are projected to cost around $400 million each, while the final phase would require an $800 million investment. Phase one also includes the iconic Moulin Rogue neon signs taking over portions of the original casino facade, as well as a 5,000-square-foot historical museum.
A fire in 2017 gutted the main building. The original buildings, beset by a number of fires over the years, received a listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.
If the new group’s plans come through, a second phase would include expanded gaming, more retail, entertainment, and restaurants, and a second 1,000-room hotel tower, as well as 50,000 square feet of convention space and parking.
The third planned phase includes residential space with retail and office buildings, along with a 12,000-seat arena.
Moulin Rouge originally opened in 1955 with a host of black performers including Lena Horne, Nat King Cole, Count Basie, Sammy Davis Jr., Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington performing during its six-month run. In November 1955, the casino closed and declared bankruptcy the next month. By 1960, Las Vegas casino owners, Gov. Grant Sawyer, local black leaders, and government officials held a meeting at the defunct resort that effectively desegregated hotels on the Strip.
Since, the former Moulin Rouge hotel opens once every two years for eight hours to maintain a gaming license.
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