EARLY LAS VEGAS pioneers transformed the desert into a metropolis. The city that came from nowhere continued to grow. Over time that expansive gamble to gobble up the surrounding dust bowl and convert it into suburbia failed too.
Today’s headlines: Nevada foreclosure rate down, but still top in US. Bleak, but optimistic. Like so many American cities, this metropolis is in decay, but there are still a few people hoping to change things.
Marketplace reports that the online shoe retailer Zappos is relocating their offices from the Vegas suburbs to a neighborhood previously known for its vast collection of vacant lots. CEO Tony Hsieh is spending $350 million to move the company into the abandoned City Hall, in hopes of revitalizing Downtown Las Vegas.
Hsieh is hoping his employees will want to live in the same neighborhood. He’s already leased apartments for himself and a few top staffers. The area is already blossoming. A coffee shop has opened up and they’re expecting more dining and drinking options. Hsieh expects their investment in the community to bring up to $20 million into the local bar economy alone.
The goal of this project is to create a campus similar to Google or Nike’s, but in a way that better integrates the local community, like the NYU campus that blends into the East Village. From a business standpoint he hopes that this investment will attract and maintain a happy workforce. From a personal standpoint, Hsieh hopes he’ll have more neighbors to hang out with.