Developer pumps new life into a neighborhood institution
Since the advent of the Downtown Project and the 18b Arts District, downtown Las Vegas has been flourishing with redevelopment. Now we are seeing it in an area that has been the figurative heart of downtown for many years: the historic Huntridge neighborhood.
J Dapper, the principal of Dapper Companies, bought the Mahoney’s Drum Shop at Bonneville Avenue and Maryland Parkway, planning to renovate it and lease it to Cory Harwell, the restaurateur behind Carson Kitchen. Dapper and Harwell are turning the drum shop into an Asian restaurant. They will pay homage to the heritage of the neighborhood, giving the restaurant a 1950s feel and improving the alley behind the building so diners can eat outside.
The building is under construction and is scheduled to debut in early 2017.
Dapper also bought the Huntridge Shopping Center on the southwest corner of Maryland and Charleston Boulevard. Originally he had no intention of purchasing the property, but as he recently explained.
If I’m going to be down there, I might as well go big and make an overall difference. Owning one property is great, but owning two is even better.
While redeveloping the shopping center, Dapper wanted to keep the “vintage and Googie” look of the neighborhood. A new sign has been placed in front of the center and it looks like it could be the original one from the ’50s.
“We worked hard to make the sign,” said Dapper. “We want to make people wonder, Was it already there or is it new?”
Also, a Southern California artist painted the utility boxes surrounding the center (and a mural at the Mahoney’s building).
A Wingstop restaurant is slated to join the Huntridge Pharmacy and the well-known dive bar the Huntridge Tavern, both of which debuted in the early ’60s. Dapper believes that having a corporate brand people know (Wingstop) will bring comfort and familiarity to the center. “If you’re a family that lives in the neighborhood that wants to watch the football game and have a beer, Wingstop is the place for you. There is not a lot of places downtown you can do that.”
During the extended renovation, the Huntridge Tavern’s bathrooms will be upgraded and the Hi-Rollers Barbershop will be expanded. Landscaping will replace the sea of asphalt that has not been resurfaced in years.
The Circle K on the near corner of the lot is on board for the makeover. In the coming months, the gas station will have the look of a classic station from the ’50s.
Kate Alexander, manager of the Huntridge Tavern and a longtime resident of the neighborhood, is enthusiastic about the changes.
“This shopping center is the corridor to the Huntridge neighborhood,” said Alexander.
The neighborhood holds beauty, culture and history. It deserves to have a beautiful representation of that.
Kathleen Kahr D’Esposito, a neighborhood resident and homeowner for more than twenty years, added, “Having seen the good, the bad and the ugly, it’s always worth it. The neighborhood is beautifully growing. Each year it gets better and better.”
A community advocate, D’Esposito hopes to see more aesthetically pleasing changes in the neighborhood.
Dapper has mentioned possibly buying more property in the Huntridge area, but for now he seems content to focus on the shopping center.
I just want to have a fully occupied shopping center and I hope to see the rest of the neighborhood change and grow. I hope to see positive things happen in the area.
Angela Bosco is a native Las Vegan who is deeply invested in the community and in promoting the advancement of arts and culture. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.