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What Does Tony Hsieh See When He Talks Downtown?

April 13, 2012 at 12:03 PM | by | ()

Tony Hsieh: Delivering Happiness left and right, but mostly to the right.

Downtown Las Vegas is so near and dear to our hearts we wrote the guide on it. For many of our readers, it's also the preferred spot to gamble whether that's in the party pits or out. Tony Hseih is another man that hearts downtown. You may best know Tony as VegasChatter's 2011 Favorite Vegas Celeb runner-up. Tony's other claim to fame is as the CEO of Zappos but he's quickly becoming known as the visionary for downtown.

You're likely aware that Zappos followed the lyrical advice that things'll be great when you're Downtown and committed to renovating City Hall into the company's headquarters. Employees won't start moving in until late next year but Tony has already started febreezing the surrounding area. He's part of a $350 million dollar Downtown Project dedicated to building the place up.

The project's mission is to "transform Downtown Las Vegas into the most community-focused large city in the world by inspiring and empowering people to follow their passions to create a vibrant, connected urban core". By focusing on Arts, Music & Culture, Community & Coworking, Education, Entrepreneurship, Technology, and Urban Development, its goals are to:

· Bring Together Communities Of Passion
· Create Residential Density Of Greater Than 100 People Per Acre
· Add Density Of Ground Level Activities, Spaces, And Businesses
· Create The Coworking Capital Of The World
· Create The Shipping Container Capital Of The World
· Do It In Less Than Five Years

If the shipping container bullet jumped out at you like it did us, its based on the premise that urban revitalization is generally created from repurposing abandoned, rundown buildings. Constructing a city center out of an otherwise forgotten area. However downtown's greatest resource in its rebirth is empty land, leaving businesses that want to move with Zappos waiting for new structures to be built.

The Downtown Project aims to turn shipping containers into spaces new businesses can utilize to test concepts and grow their client bases before permanent buildings are ready. The containers can even be moved to different locations as needed. Weird, right? But the site points out it's a proven concept in cities like San Francisco, New York, and Copenhagen. Check out this Montreal restaurant as an example.

Then take a listen to what Tony has to say about the Downtown Project for yourself:

Tony's "other projects" Delivering Happiness, Zappos, and how new hires are offered money to leave, are all mentioned. As are a few "it’s awesome", "its so cool", and "that was so fun"s by the flirtatious Valley Girl. But if you can focus on the short skirt Tony's message, it provides a peek into what the future of downtown looks like from the mind of one of its biggest ambassadors.

Tony and the Downtown Project:

· Think of the city as a startup
· Want to amplify the culture surrounding Fremont East
· Believe downtown is more community focused than even San Francisco, where Tony has lived
· Believe a key driver of the community focus is being able to live, work, and play within walking distance
· Want to ultimately share what works and doesn’t work in their experience to help other cities build their communities

We're bummed to hear Tony already stole our doggie daycare idea but we'll let that one slide to brainstorm up other businesses. We're thinking shoe store is a good one to avoid. To learn more about the project visit the Downtown Project's website.

[Photo: SFGate]

Archived Comments:

kinda can't believe

tony was on the valley girl show. speaking of, does anyone do anything similar for vegas?

36 seconds

before I couldn't listen anymore.

Juliana, I don't think there's someone in Vegas that does something similar. I was actually speaking with someone yesterday that's opening a video studio to do something similar for sports.

Not sure Vegas will ever become shipping container capital. It's not like NJ where planes, trains and boats all make deliveries. I'll still like downtown w/o that.


I put the over/under at 34 seconds.

They can probably ship shipping containers here.  Is NJ re-purposing theirs or just putting them back on planes, trains, and boats?

Shipping containers

This was a Puma store set up for a harbor festival in Boston a couple of years ago - <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/29059993@N08/3538413789/in/photostream/of">http://www.flickr.com/photos/29059993@N08/3538413789/in/photostream/of</a>

Here's the Link for Clicking

Puma Shipping Container Store

@seanb -- We had to disable link html in our comments due to constant spam attacks.