On February 7, 2008, Dale Scott,
the chief executive of the Moulin Rouge Development Corp.
announced $700 million in funding is
in place to redevelop the Moulin
Rouge Las Vegas (northwest of downtown). Republic Urban Properties LLC, a Washington, D.C.
investment firm, is teaming up with the MRDC for the project.
Keeping and restoring the existing facade, neon sign and monument tower
700 hotel rooms (in two towers)
50,000 square feet of retail space
A 44,000 square foot casino
A museum and cultural center
If all goes according to
plan, groundbreaking will be in the summer of 2009 with an expected
opening in 2010. The current plans (below) are from the winning team at
Ed Vance and Associates architects (EV&A). Other earlier proposed
renderings can be seen at the bottom of this page.
Moulin Rouge Floor Plans
Moulin Rouge History
When the $3.5 million Moulin Rouge opened on
May 24, 1955, it was the nation's first major interracial casino-hotel.
Until then, black entertainers (even Sammy Davis Jr.) had to sleep in
boarding houses in the designated black neighborhoods west of downtown.
At that time, blacks were not allowed access to the hotels casinos,
lounges and dining areas. A group of investors (led by Will Max Schwartz)
a completely integrated
hotel between downtown and the (mostly African American) west side.
The popularity of the Moulin Rouge happened overnight. The hotel made
the June 20th, 1955, cover of Life magazine, with a photo of two
showgirls. A veritable "A list" of 50s- and 60s-era performers regularly
showed to party until dawn. Great singers and musicians such as
Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, Pearl Bailey, and Louis Armstrong would
days, entertainers would roam the Strip's lounges and casinos in the wee
hours of the morning, mingling with the guests. Black entertainers
couldn't do that. They headed for the Moulin Rouge (and so did white
entertainers). Frank Sinatra would show up with other Rat Packers so
they could enjoy the company of their good friend Sammy. Often, they
would perform without pay to the integrated crowd. This "3rd show" drew
many people from the famous Strip and downtown resorts. The Moulin Rouge
was "the place to be" in the wee hours.
Since the mob-run Sands
resort wanted their stars back, they began to allow Sammy and other
African Americans into the
resort. It wasn't about black and white, it was about green. This
action caused the Moulin Rouge's business to dwindle. That, with other
issues, caused it to close in October of 1955.
Although the Moulin Rouge closed, its short life had a lasting impact.
Civil rights activists scheduled a march on March 26, 1960 to
protest racial discrimination in Las Vegas resorts. Hotel owners, city
and state officials, and Nevada Governor Grant Sawyer quickly set up a
meeting with NAACP president, Dr. James McMillan and other ethnic leaders
at the Moulin Rouge. Most of the hotel owners agreed to integrate their
establishments, and the planned march was canceled.
The building changed hands a few times and opened with failed results.
The location, the neighborhood, and the growth of the Strip have kept the
Moulin Rouge from being a successful establishment. For a while the
hotel was owned by Sarann Knight-Preddy, the first African American
woman to hold a Nevada Gaming License.
The Moulin Rouge was
listed as an historic building in the National Register of Historic
Places in 1992.
The building was used for the filming of "Casino" in 1995
March 22, 2003, Bart Maybie, the owner of the Moulin Rouge had some
big plans for the historic property. He wanted to restore the
casino to its former glory.
On May 29, 2003, a (deliberately set) fire destroyed all but the facade.
On February 7, 2008,
chief executive of the Moulin Rouge Development Corp (the current
owners) announced $700 million in
funding is in place to redevelop the Moulin Rouge. With downtown
changing into a viable urban area, the time is right for the Moulin
Rouge to re-emerge.
Moulin Rouge Style and Design
Originally, The Moulin Rouge was a prime example of cutting-edge
mid-century-modern architecture. Nice lines, concrete "star" blocks,
mosaic tiled columns and flagstone, made up the exterior facade.
The classy interior consisted of polished mahogany walls and rich
colors. (no photos available)
Sarann Knight-Preddy and her family tried to
the building. They attempted to
make it classier by adding awnings
silly shingled roof on the monument tower. They also
lamps and covered the mosaic columns with stucco boxes.
This makeover did little more than ruin a great building (visually).
Mixing traditional styles with mid-century-modern is a major faux pas
these days. The new plans include restoring the facade and
removing the added features.
On May 29, 2003, a
(deliberately set) fire destroyed all but the facade. Fred Ball, 45, and
John Antwan Caver, 29, were arrested on arson charges. The photos
(below) by Mark Adams, show the Moulin Rouge today.
The photos (below) coincide with the numbers on
the aerial shot (left).
1- the facade
2- back of facade
3- remaining mosaic
4- the monument tower
(with silly hat)
5- star blocks