Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 | 5:15 p.m.
Until today, little new information has emerged about renovating the historic Huntridge Theater, plans of which so energized the community that an online fundraiser collected more than $200,000 to assist in the renovation.
After that money came in, several companies then vowed to donate time for lighting, design and more. In addition, hundreds of residents answered the call and showed up to whitewash the building, whose ancient paint job had flaked away.
Months passed. Some thought the theater revival plans had faded away. Others figured that a December deadline for Huntridge Revival LLC to raise $4 million to buy the 69-year-old building had been missed (another $11 million is needed for renovation).
Then late this morning, signs of life.
A crew with a hydraulic cherry picker began to erect a massive square banner on the building containing a new logo — an “H” inside a circle.
Chris Fahlman, hired as Huntridge general manager last year and on site to watch as the banner-crew worked, said the banner serves as a reminder that the project is moving forward. He also said that the $4 million deadline had been extended to June as “qualified investors” are sought.
“We’re at a phase where we’re raising additional investment to finalize the purchase,” he said. “The clock is ticking.”
Hired four months ago, Fahlman, 63, has a steady-handed, modest demeanor that isn’t always apparent among the youth-dominated businesses downtown. He knows the business well enough that he isn’t afraid to talk about the vision and what needs to be done to attain it.
A Cleveland native and Browns fan — so, yes, he has already found The Tap House, a tavern-restaurant for the long-suffering fans of that NFL team — he has been working in the concert-event production business for some 40 years.
When finished, Fahlman foresees the building as serving and drawing the local community.
“And it will offer things that are authentic and affordable,” he said. “We want to make it a destination. The desire is to have someone say, ‘I want to go to The Huntridge tonight.’ Who’s playing? That won’t matter, because we’ll have something in this part and that part, we’ll have a restaurant and bar.
“And if we can do that and have fun with it, it’ll be the sort of ‘Cheers’ mentality.”
“Cheers” was a TV show in the 1980s whose theme song was titled “Where Everybody Knows Your Name.”
Defining an endpoint for renovation is difficult at best, but Fahlman said perhaps late 2015 or sometime in 2016.
“It’s a big project and because we have to raise money and have to do it in the right order and circumstances, it’s going to take a while to do,” he added.
With that, he was off, on his way to volunteer his time to another unique downtown project, the Life Cube, a 24-by-24-foot wooden cube/Burning Man sculpture scheduled to go up in flames March 21.
Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover Downtown, he lives and works there. He is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded Downtown journalist, stationed at an office in Emergency Arts. His work appears in the Las Vegas Sun and Las Vegas Weekly.