The Downtown Project in Las Vegas is a $350 million redevelopment of the downtown core where the city’s origins have been preserved in places like El Cortez Hotel, where Elvis impersonators perform on Fridays and Saturdays.
While the Cortez remains much the same as it was in the Rat Pack days, many of the other historic buildings have been refurbished and adapted within the last year as unique venues for groups, including cowork spaces, funky restaurants and bars, and multi-use commercial spaces like Downtown Container Park.
Downtown Project is an initiative of Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, who moved his company headquarters from nearby Henderson into the ex-Las Vegas City Hall. Hsieh purchased over 30 blocks of downtown Las Vegas surrounding his new office digs, and he’s slowly bringing the area back one small business at a time.
Hsieh’s goal is to show how the future of America rests with independent-thinking entrepreneurial minds, and he’s dedicated his efforts to demonstrating how corporate America can inspire people to be more innovative and creative in all types of businesses.
For example, the Golden Spike was once one of Nevada’s most notorious casinos. Today, it’s a 24-hour cowork space, business lounge, full bar and cafeteria attracting young professionals attracted to the local start-up scene. Upstairs, the rooms now house visiting entrepreneurs seeking entry into the local business scene.
In the back, a large park has an Airstream trailer for visiting bands, life-size Jenga games, fire pits and lounge seating to chill out in the warm desert air. Groups can organize tours of both the Downtown Project and Zappos HQ where attendees will learn about the future potential of corporate lifestyle, urban design, live/work balance, and how companies can have a positive impact on communities.
“I’m very excited about what’s happening down there,” says Chris Meyer, VP of global business sales at Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. “As a matter of fact, I’m touring downtown tomorrow with a group from Korea. They heard about it and they’re very interested about what’s going on.”
Downtown Project surrounds the covered Freemont East Entertainment District lined with many different unique venues for group events. The entire Freemont digital canopy can be customized for group events, but spend some extra time to visit the smaller restaurants that opened because of Hsieh’s masterplan to save this community.
Here’s a list of all the new businesses. We like Carson Kitchen and La Comida where you’ll feel like a local the second you walk in.