This Week: An Overview of the Downtown Project in Las Vegas

September 24, 2012

9:00 am

Led by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, the Downtown Project is a $350 million fund that aims to revitalize downtown Las Vegas by funding new buildings, education, small businesses, and tech startups. The focus is on community: creating a place where passionate people would be happy to live.

The Downtown Project grew out of Zappos’s search for a new headquarters. Rather than build a confined, university-style campus, Hsieh and his team decided to help foster an entire community from the ground up. In about a year, after the community has grown, Zappos will move from a Vegas suburb to the old Las Vegas City Hall building downtown.

Downtown Project: By the Numbers

  • Started: 2011
  • Team: 40+
  • Total funding: $350 million 
  • Funding for real estate: $100 million
  • Funding for residential development: $100 million
  • Funding for small businesses: $50 million
  • Funding for education: $50 million 
  • Funding for tech startups: $50 million 
  • Tech startups funded: 9
  • Desired population density: Over 100 people/acre 
  • Timeline: 5 years

With a new office in Las Vegas, Tech Cocktail will be monitoring the action as it progresses. We’re dedicating this week to publishing daily content about the Downtown Project so you can meet some of its leaders, learn about the history, and understand the community vibe. When I visited Vegas for the first time, I didn’t quite know what to expect. But after meeting the community and seeing it all up close, it’s hard not to get excited about the big vision.

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact kira@tech.co.

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