Tech Billionaire Looks to Reinvent Old Vegas in the Image of the Mission

Downtown Las Vegas, if you have never been, is about a 20 minute cab ride from the Strip, and is a cheaper version of the glitz, glam, and tourist packed casino mecca. The slots are looser, the people not as scandalously dressed, and you can actually get an okay meal for under $10 per person. While some might find this place as an oasis from the over-the-top and in-your-face shit show that is the strip, one man has a vision. That man is Zappos founder Tony Hsieh, and his vision is that of Dolores Park:

Mr. Hsieh, a soft-spoken 39-year-old Internet billionaire who runs Zappos, the online clothing store, plans to do something as transformative. It’s a classic American dream: a Western-scale roll of the dice in a city that suddenly conjured up Belle Époque Paris and ancient Rome out of the desert. The idea this time is to build a version of the Mission district in San Francisco or the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn in downtown Vegas.


Mr. Hsieh has been buying up property all around the downtown strip to house what he feels are the best parts of the Mission: Mom & Pop restaurants and bars, boutique stores, offices that house tech incubators and can host TED talks, and a bike share program. And something about Teslas. While this sounds like a unique thing to do in Las Vegas (as none of those places have anything to do with boobies or yard sticks full of sugar booze), it also sounds absolutely nothing like the Mission. In fact, it sounds a lot like Austin, which is already in a desert in a state that no one particularly wants to go to. It seems like Mr. Hsieh is trying to to bring new life to a floundering section of Las Vegas, which is a good thing, especially for new start-ups that find rental prices in the Mission a wee bit pricey, and need a place to develop and grow. Plus who doesn't love doggy day care? You can't gamble AND watch your dog on vacation, right?

Let's say, for a minute, Mr. Hsieh actually wanted to bring the Mission to Las Vegas. Besides building a two-story version of Four Barrel and a park that's largely unregulated by the DEA or the Nevada Gaming Commission, what else would be necessary for the complete Missionification of downtown Vegas? Would Dr. Teeth move to Vegas and stay exactly the same? Would Cold Beer Cold Water be allowed to sell PBR again without fear? Instead of waking up to a USA Today outside your hotel room, would you wake up to poop and a used needle? What would you want to see in Vegas Mission, if you ever actually did want to see a Vegas version of the Mission to begin with?

Comments (26)

I think it is time for everyone to accept that the Mission/Williamsburg PBR swilling “hipster” caricature is nothing more than the the current late 20, early 30 something mall fashion crazy of the time. Out with the surfer extreme sports athlete/wag look and in with a regurgitation of late 80 Lands End catalogs.

This shit feeds off itself and not everyone from east bum fuck nowhere wants to go to Brooklyn or SF to live out their “hipster” fantasy. Enter Vegas and Hseih both down to capitalize off any trend whenever possible.

The only people who should be bothered by this are the folks who jumped on the latest shopping mall “hipster” look and believed they were being original.

PS: I just got my new super original boat shoes from zappos so there is a bag of socks out on corner, for anyone lame enough to still wear those things.

Hseih is just trying to lure brogrammers to come work for him in Vegas.

All I know is that Omer should get his own stage show, 5 nights a week (plus matinee on Saturdays).

That sketch is even more relevant now than when it was produced. Mr. Show was ahead of its time.

A-yuh. Fucking shocking that that is 17 years old. K-razy.

First they should make sure that no chains stores are allowed, any chain stores that are there need be shut down and turned into abandoned storefronts. Second they need to subsidize / establish a trust fund for a bunch of tatooed no job fixie riding hipsters who have nothing better to do than bitch about gentrification. Third the hipsters need to displace who ever is living there, and complain that they are displacing those folks. I think that about covers it.

P.S. they also need a park for all of the imported hipsters to hang out.

4th they need to institute commercial rent control.


Ridiculous, foolish people do, sure.

Single speeds are really “in” right now – I see them everywhere. But “fixies”… not so common. I think some people see one gear and assume they’re looking at a fixed gear.

Single speeds look cool and you can tell that Antioch chick it’s a fixie, she’ll never know. But real fixies are hard, and let’s face us, impractical, so this seems like a good compromise.

Single speed bikes are only slightly less silly than fixies, especially in a city full of hills.

I ride a single speed beach cruiser around The Mission, and sometimes down to the wharf.

And how is there nothing on here, SFist, or missionmission about the shooting/death outside Double Dutch? The second death outside Double Dutch since last summer.

Concur. It’s pretty fucking sad when you are scooped by SFGate. Ugh.

I’m 8 timezones away, cut me some sad fucking slack–I don’t leave the zipcode that often.

Fair dues.

(also, to be clear, I was “Ugh.”ing at more fucking shootings, not at KevMo not having posted about it yet)

Sounds like he actually wants a permanent SXSW in Vegas. Just part of the convention bureau with a different demographic.

Well, SXSW is doing that V2V conference there next month, so maybe Hseih will get his wish. It might end up being almost as much fun as going to the Rio for DefCon.

Second best option for Tamale Lady.

Yes, come to the desert, tech companies. Your servers will be fine. You’ll just have to pay double for all the energy it takes to keep them cool. And your employees will be great. Nothing near the talent pool of The Bay or NYC, but a higher lkelihood of gambling and drinking problems (yes, a preference for PBR is a drinking problem, but I mean serious drinking problems). At least one thing will improve: tiny-balled hipsters won’t be so keen on nut-hugging skinny jeans in 100-degree weather.