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Revitalizing the Old Vegas Downtown: Container Park a Boon to Local Entrepreneurs

Container Park on West Freemont Street in downtown Las Vegas has repurposed shipping containers as instant stores for local entrepreneurs. The idea derived from the Downtown Project, headed by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh.

Cre8Play is also installing a play exhibit for Container Park, using the shipping containers, the tallest of which stands 40 feet.

Downtown Project (DP) is a group committed to helping transform downtown Las Vegas into "the most community-focused large city in the world ... by inspiring and empowering people to follow their passions to create a vibrant, connected urban core."

DP reports it has allocated $350 million to aid in the revitalization of downtown Vegas: $200 million in real estate; $50 million for small businesses; $50 million for education; and $50 million in tech startups (VegasTech Fund).

The roots of DP began with the plan to move the Zappos headquarters to the former Las Vega City Hall Building. Zappos, an online shoe and clothing enterprise, wanted the retrofitted building to help revitalize the old downtown. Zappos polled its workers to learn what amenities they desired. Would it be a swimming pool, soccer fields, volleyball courts and workout facilities like at Nike? The employees' number one amenity request: dog day care!

At any rate, Zappos didn't want an insular corporate campus, but a community gathering space. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, who leads DP, wants a revitalized downtown Las Vegas where people can "hang out all the time and where there's not a huge distinction between working and playing," a sentiment shared by Mayor Oscar Goodamn. After a $48 million renovation of the building, Zappos moved into its new headquarters on Sept. 9, 2013.

The Zappos' headquarters is surrounded by the Fremont East district. Fremont Street was where Las Vegas got its start: the first paved road; the first street light. It has always been a compact district of bars, restaurants and shops operated by locals. The western end of Fremont Street was the quintessential old Vegas: tacky, seedy and overlit with neon, earning it the name Glitter Gulch. The towering hotels and water displays of the Strip dwarf it and get all the attention, but the roots of Vegas are Fremont Street.

To keep Glitter Gulch alive, the "Fremont Street Experience" was constructed: a 5-block pedestrian mall covered by a 90-ft. tall barrel vault canopy. A three-block section just east of the "Experience" opened in August 2007, offering a compact area of bars and clubs.

The other DP endeavor is Container Park at the southeast corner of 7th and Fremont Street. The idea was to be resourceful, fast and green by repurposed shipping containers for retail use by local entrepreneurs, in lieu of new and expensive construction.

Container Park is currently fully leased and there are no spaces available. The enterprises there include Bolt Barbers; 702DTLV (decor, apparel, accessores); Alios (lighting gallery); American Vagabond (women's fashions); Art Box (jewelry, accessories); Blackbird Gallery and many more

To see updated images of Container Park, go to

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October 17, 2019, 9:09 am PDT

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