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Monday, November 29, 2010

Zappos Inc. moving Downtown is a game changer...

In what could be the biggest paradigm shift in the history of Downtown Las Vegas, Zappos.com one of the most innovative and creative companies in the United States has decided to roll the dice and move to the city core, or at least that is what the city has recently announced (see below). Zappos is one of America's top 100 companies to work for. It's workforce is dedicated to the highest standards of customer service and with Tony Hsieh at the helm, one of America's youngest and most successful CEO's, this can only be the story of the decade for Downtown.

With Zappos moving into one of the most rapidly redeveloping areas of the city, this will instantaneously create a synergy that will unlock potential that many naysayers said could never happen. In addition to Zappos, The Beat Coffeehouse at Emergency Arts, the El Cortez, The Ogden (formerly Streamline Tower), The Gold Spike, The MOB Museum, and all of the businesses in the Entertainment District are creating what has been championed in the seminal book, "The Rise and Fall of Great American Cities" by Jane Jacobs and recanted in part by Richard Florida in his book "The Rise of the Creative Class." Basically the premise of these books is Live, Work and Play within walking distance thus creating a true urban core.

Slowly but surely Downtown is creating small synergistic centers that will eventually be interconnected with each other. Even where I live at the L'Octaine building on Las Vegas Boulevard and Gass, synergy has been created. With the hugely successful show "Pawn Stars" broadcasting from Gold and Silver Pawn, the opening of the Verdict's Inn Cafe on the first floor of the L'Octaine, Studio 810, Super Cleaners, Globe Salon and a new market at Soho Lofts, a new urban vibe is being harnessed. Not to mention all the success that the Arts District is having just a few feet away.

As I have always said it takes a cultural arts infrastructure to lure creative and innovative businesses to an area. Creative industries demand the arts for their creative workforces, it is basically a quality-of-life issue. If the workforce is happy with their surroundings, they will be very productive. Productivity equals prosperity. The cultural arts are demanded by the creative class and today's announcement is most definitely up there with the opening of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, the building of the Smith Center for the Performing Arts and the Groundbreaking of the new Discovery Childrens Museum. All this positive energy has finally created the spark that we so longed for.

It is a good day to live, work and play in Downtown Las Vegas...

Check out this link for more details and an awesome video by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh...
Zappos Eyes Downtown Las Vegas

Company Hopes To Relocate Headquarters To City Hall Site

In what would be a major economic boost, Zappos.com, Inc. is looking to relocate its corporate headquarters to downtown Las Vegas on the current City Hall site. 

The Resort Gaming Group (RGG), wholly owned by founder and CEO Andrew Donner, made an unsolicited offer to the city of Las Vegas to buy the site and about seven surrounding acres earlier this year with the intent of developing it as a corporate campus for Zappos.

Such a move is expected to bring an initial 1,000 jobs into the downtown area. Zappos.com is a leader in on-line clothing and footwear sales by way of an unparalleled focus on customer service. Zappos is known as having a fun and family-type culture with a focus on employee happiness. Highlighting Zappos’ accomplishments is inclusion in Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies To Work For” list for 2009 and 2010. 

“This will be a game changer for Southern Nevada,” said Mayor Oscar B. Goodman. “This move will bring about a critical mass of creative persons to the inner core of Las Vegas in addition to causing a significant shot in the arm for the economy and for new jobs.”

City leaders have noted the importance of keeping local businesses excited about being in Las Vegas. “Having Zappos in the Las Vegas area is vital to diversifying our economy beyond gaming,” said City Manager Betsy Fretwell. “This move will also encourage similar companies to look at Las Vegas as a potential site for corporate headquarters.”

The city had already made plans to relocate City Hall to another downtown location with a timeline to vacate the current facility in 2012. Zappos hoped to capitalize on the city’s move, expressing an interest in being in a downtown environment with room to grow. The current City Hall campus and nearby city-owned properties comprise approximately 17 acres.

"At Zappos, our number one priority is our company culture. Our belief is that if we get the culture right, most of the other stuff -- like delivering great customer service and building a long-term enduring brand and business -- will be a natural byproduct of our culture,” said Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, Inc. “Our proposed future downtown location will be a great urban environment that will help grow the cultures of both Zappos and Las Vegas."

Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area, Zappos first moved to the Las Vegas Valley in 2004. At the time, the fast-growing start up brought 70 employees with it.

“Zappos is among the world’s most successful, progressive and forward-thinking companies as created by its incredibly visionary leaders,” said Donner. “To work in partnership with Tony Hsieh, Fred Mossler and the entire Zappos team has been both humbling and enlightening. The company is committed to this project and more importantly, to reinvigorating downtown. The support of this caliber of business leader speaks volumes for our city. We believe this project will have more impact on downtown revitalization than any other development to date.”

The city had been in exclusive negotiations with The Cordish Companies to build an arena and entertainment district on the current City Hall site. City officials could not negotiate with any other potential developers unless Cordish was agreeable. The city and Cordish agreed to move the arena/entertainment complex to Symphony Park, clearing the way for RGG to discuss the purchase of the City Hall site with city leaders. A new exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) with The Cordish Company was approved by the City Council on November 17.

The City Council must now consider the sale of the current City Hall site to RGG. The item is scheduled to be on the council agenda of December 1. If approved, the parties will enter a due diligence period, meaning this would be the first step in seeing the deal come to fruition. The transaction is expected to take several months to finalize and is expected to close by mid-2011. Construction will begin as soon as the new City Hall is complete in the spring of 2012 and city workers have transitioned to the new facility. 

“The economic uplift that will be created by Zappos’ move to downtown will be significant,” said Donner. “Zappos’ corporate campus will elevate downtown, its profile, its vibe and its appeal to both locals and tourists alike.”

About Zappos.com
Established in 1999, Zappos.com, operated by Zappos Development, Inc., has quickly become the leading destination in online apparel and footwear sales by striving to provide shoppers with the best possible service and selection. The Zappos Family has gross merchandise sales exceeding $1 billion annually. Zappos.com currently showcases millions of products from over 1000 clothing and shoe brands. Zappos.com, Inc. was recognized in 2009 and 2010 by FORTUNE MAGAZINE as one of the "100 BEST COMPANIES TO WORK FOR". More information about the customer service philosophy, unique culture, and job openings can be found at http://about.zappos.com. More information about Zappos Insights, Inc. and its business membership program can be found at http://www.zapposinsights.com

About Resort Gaming Group 
Resort Gaming Group (RGG) is a Las Vegas, Nevada-based, regional hospitality management and development company founded in 2002 and privately owned by Andrew B. Donner. Currently, RGG provides management services to several businesses including gaming taverns, full-service restaurants, quick service restaurants, catering operations and casino gaming operations under the direction of President Keith E. Grossman. RGG is licensed by Nevada Gaming Control. RGG and its affiliates are partners in the redevelopment of the Lady Luck Casino and Hotel. The newly renovated hotel casino is expected to open under a new name in fall 2012 along with many new food, bar, club and retail venues in the exciting, new 3rd Street District. RGG and its affiliates are also developing approximately 100,000 square feet of retail, food, beverage and convention space surrounding The Mob Museum, which is expected to open fall 2011. 

Jace Radke

Public Information Officer
City of Las Vegas

Brian Paco Alvarez enculturating Las Vegas into the millennium...

posted by Brian Paco Alvarez, Curator and Chronicler of Culture at


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