Gets the heck out of Vegas. At least if it’s money from Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s utopian pipe-dream.
Five years ago, fresh off a $1.2B acquisition by Amazon, Hsieh immediately poured $350m of his net worth into an initiative called Downtown Project.
The goal: To turn downtown Las Vegas into “the most community-focused large city in the world” through $50m+ investments in startups, real estate, the arts, and a giant praying mantis that shoots fire from its antennae.
Too much Burning Man, not enough City Planner Man
Apart from being an undoubtedly successful startup leader, Hsieh is also an avid festival-goer. In fact, out of their total $86.6m recurring annual impact, $77.7m comes from their 3-day Life is Beautiful festival.
But, based on Downtown Project’s newly released economic impact report, the estimated $500m they’ve invested thus far has created fewer than 2k jobs.
Not exactly great news for the impact of the other 362 days.
Still, dreamers gotta dream…
And you can’t knock the vision or the dedication to the community. Heck, Hsieh even moved from a luxury apartment to a trailer park with his 2 pet alpacas to “maximize serendipity and randomness in [his] life.”
Revitalizing a city, however, takes a lot more than investing a bunch of money and hoping everyone is down with “PLUR.”