More Development for Downtown Vegas

One developer plans a boutique hotel (l.) in Downtown Vegas, and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh continues to stoke investment in the neighborhood.

Still plenty of vacancies, empty lots

Las Vegas city commissioners are looking at plans for a high-rise hotel in the Downtown area. Tower 228 Boutique Hotel is a project of G.C. Garcia Inc., which plans a 228-room tower plus restaurants, bars, a fitness center, conference space and a rooftop pool, reports

The developer says the nongaming hotel would boost downtown traffic by 2,300 trips a day, and increase traffic on Las Vegas Boulevard from 54 percent to 61 percent.

Despite the flurry of new development Downtown, including a massive investment by tech entrepreneur Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, plus inroads by Seth Schorr of Fifth Street Gaming, and Derek Stevens, owner of the D Hotel, the neighborhood also has an abundance of empty, undeveloped land.

Real estate investor Kamran Fouladbakhsh, who has witnessed both boom and bust times in Las Vegas, says new development in the Downtown vicinity will create a follow-the-leader effect. “If a few buildings go up, others will follow,” Fouladbakhsh said.

And Ken McCown, director of the Downtown Design Center of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said while much of the region is “pretty grim,” the empty spaces will make room for something new and better.McCown told that Hsieh’s Downtown Project is planning a light-industrial district that could build on undeveloped parcels or move into existing warehouses.

“For a city of this size, you don’t normally see this much vacant land,” he said. “It’s a real, tremendous opportunity for Las Vegas to reinvent itself.”