Las Vegas Says Hello to “Flexible Urbanism” With its Very Own Downtown Container Park!
The historical and somewhat legendary streets of downtown Las Vegas have long been known for the wild gatherings and debauchery that were present nearly every night in the rising oasis. From crooners to panhandlers, tourists & executives, Las Vegas was the universal land of equality where all shades of people came together to simply just, celebrate! Downtown Las Vegas was the nucleus of all of it, and Fremont Street to this day remains one of the most widely fantasized roads in the western United States.
While Fremont may have been the center of culture back in the golden days of Las Vegas, modern times have been a little harsh on the iconic road. While a small walkway between the Golden Nugget casino and El Cortez now stands modernized, the blocks surrounding the party street have slowly dilapidated into empty lots and dusty old structures.
Just recently, Tony Hsieh of Zappos Inc. has spearheaded one of the biggest and widest renovation projects in Las Vegas history. By purchasing the old Las Vegas city hall, Tony looks to transform the former brain of Sin City into the epicenter of culture for locals. But it’s more than just an aesthetic renovation, the project is trying to bring back something many residents of the area lost long, long ago, and that’s hope!
The Mission of Tony Hsieh
While the critics of the project are endless (with endless reasons why it won’t work), there are even more that have slowly stepped into the newly budding project to help create the spirit that built Las Vegas. And that spirit is without a doubt entrepreneurial in nature, that’s where Tony steps in.. The man has put fourth nearly 350 million from his own finances to create a tech fund that looks to sew the seeds of future tech entrepreneurs with no place to start in Sin City.
In fact, it’s got to the point where just about anybody with an effective idea, a little passion and a willingness to help the community can jump on board and begin contributing in the best way they can. They are nabbing individuals skilled in everything from social media marketing, to skilled construction workers and creative street artists. The fund hasn’t been picky either, and this is what critics are tossing out the gabber the most! But little do they know this has been the strength of the movement from the get-go. Hsieh wants no financial aid, and just the help of people within the community.
So far, the movement has accomplished its self proclaimed “Phase 1”, which saw the Downtown Project fund hundreds of new startup ideas as well as providing future entrepreneurs the workspaces and mentorship they need to make BIG things happen..
When we say big, Hsieh means BIG, with the new Zappos HQ set to open fall of 2013, there a few other projects the CEO has “kickstarted” into near completion, and one of them is the infamous container park..
The Downtown Container Park
Situated downtown right across the street from El Cortez, the shopping center looks to put itself between a bad rock and a bad place, but Hsieh is hopeful this new park will bring in the type of people who can further help with the betterment of downtown and the Fremont East District.
The shopping center will be made solely out of Shipping Containers that have been repurposed work environments. Utilizing the highly popular and new “X-Treme Cube” innovations, the park will offer three stories of shopping and ground level offices for start-up companies. On top of the shopping aspect, the center will utilize an outdoor theater, gated playground for children and even a sausage garden as well as a few other eateries and bars.
“Why put a playground in such a place?” is what many are wondering, but with the addition of on-site security staff and a firm Metro-PD presence, many of those concerns can be barked out the window as the soon-to-be shopping attraction has even declared the playground will have its own staff.As far as startups go, the “flexible urbanism” aspect of the center will be many small, shared office spaces delegated between multiple companies to share on certain days. Like a time-share for entrepreneurs! Offering the local idea-makers a space to make dreams a reality, in essence, this is the whole idea of the Downtown Project, and the very soul of Las Vegas!