Zappos founder Tony Hsieh admits he’s growing inpatient with his ambitious efforts to revitalize Downtown Las Vegas, reports NPR.
It’s been three years since tech billionaire Hsieh moved Zappos headquarters into the former Las Vegas City Hall and provided seed funding for 60 tech start ups and small businesses that agreed to move into the area. It was an area better known for its blight and cheap hotels than as a thriving community.
The ambitious Downtown Project — an effort that’s part urban revitalization, part social experiment; The grand master plan was to build a community in which people would run into each other, exchange ideas and spark innovation.
Three years in, it’s not going as quickly as he expected.
“I come from the tech world where you can go from idea to launch in 24 hours,” Hsieh tells NPR. “Even though I knew obviously the physical world can move slower than the tech world, there are just some things that just take a lot of time and therefore a lot of patience.”
“Vegas traditionally isn’t known as a walking town or city. It’s a very car-based culture, and we wanted to help create a place where you had everything you need to live, work, play within walking distance,” Hsieh says. “If you look one block that way there’s actually the world’s largest functioning fire hydrant attached to the dog park and doggy day care.”
Hsieh’s hope was that his $350 million dollar project would break even in five years. Progress has admittedly been slow.
With the slow progress has come increased criticism of Hsieh’s leadership and skepticism about whether the plan will work.