Zappos, Inc. move to downtown Las Vegas expected to boost economy, revitalize downtown

Zappos, Inc., ranked one of the Best Companies to Work For by Fortune Magazine, has big plans for downtown Las Vegas.

The online shoe retailer known for its innovative corporate culture plans to relocate its headquarters downtown, a move that is expected to boost the local economy and help to revitalize a struggling part of the city.

Zappos expects to relocate 1,200 employees from its existing headquarters in Henderson, Nevada to downtown Las Vegas in late 2013. The new headquarters will be located in the current City Hall site, which, after renovations, will be able to accommodate up to 2,000 employees. Estimates indicate Zappos’ move will impact the economy to a tune of $336.6 million and will result in the city collecting approximately $395,900 annually in additional property taxes.

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh

According to a report prepared for the city by RCG Economics, some of the top industries to benefit from the Zappos move include food services, real estate establishments, health care providers and retail stores.

Relocating the Zappos headquarters to downtown Las Vegas, however, is only a small part of CEO Tony Hsieh’s plan.

Hsieh and a few partners will invest $350 million over the next 5 years or so to transform downtown Las Vegas into a community where Zappos employees and the city’s creative community will work, live and play. Plans include restaurants, bakeries, bike shops and even a doggie daycare. Hsieh wants to ensure that the move will not only be transformative for Zappos, but also for downtown Las Vegas.

This revitalization effort aligns with Las Vegas’ Downtown Project, which is working to transform downtown Las Vegas into the “most community-focused large city in the world.”

Hsieh’s motivation to revitalize Las Vegas stems from his personal ambition of fostering a thriving company culture based on employee happiness.

“At Zappos, our number one priority is our company culture,” he said in a statement. “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. Our future downtown location will be a great urban environment that will help grow the cultures of both Zappos and Las Vegas.”

Many local government officials, including Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman, are eagerly anticipating Zappos’ relocation, as providing an economic and cultural boost downtown is one of the city’s top agenda items.

“The relocation of Zappos’ corporate headquarters to downtown is triggering more interest, more business investments and a resurgence of enthusiasm for living and working in the heart of the city,” Goodman said.

Similarly, Councilman Ricki Y. Barlow, who represents the area that includes the future Zappos headquarters, noted that “Having Zappos in the downtown will be a spark to so many other businesses and attractions. The spinoff from this is going to be fabulous, and will create a domino effect of success.”

The Las Vegas City Council finalized the deal to relocate Zappos’ headquarters to the current City Hall site on Feb. 1. Resort Gaming Group (RGG), who holds a lease agreement with Zappos, purchased the property for $18 million.

“While progress on downtown redevelopment has made great strides in recent years, today, with the realization of this deal, downtown is on the cusp of becoming the next great place in Las Vegas,” said Andrew Donner, owner and founder of RGG.

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