LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Tony Hsieh became involved with the company that became known as Zappos in 1999.
The company was started by Nick Swinmurn and its original name was ShoeSite.com.
Hsieh and Swinmurn ran the company together for a while and in 2004, Zappos moved from San Francisco to Henderson.
In 2009, Hsieh sold Zappos to Amazon for $1.2 billion and moved Zappos to the 11-story former Las Vegas City Hall in 2013.
Before that move was complete, he launched a side company named Downtown Project in 2012.
The purpose of the company was to invest $350 million of Hsieh’s money into real estate, restaurants, tech startups and other ventures in the Fremont Street area near the former city hall in downtown Las Vegas.
The Downtown Project, which is now known as DTP, allocated roughly $200 million in real estate and development, $50 million in small businesses, $50 million in technology and startups through VTF Capital, and $50 million in arts and culture, education, and healthcare.
A large portion of the investment was allocated toward real estate and development in the Fremont East/Far East district of Downtown Las Vegas.
Real estate holdings include The 211, 8th Street Apartments, Fremont9, Downtowner Residence, Shangri La and Towne Terrace.
Additionally, they invested in approximately 50 small businesses ranging from restaurants and bars like Carson Kitchen and VegeNation to retail (Downtown Container Park) to a record store and doggie daycare and an app-based laundry and dry cleaning business.
Their investment arm, VTF Capital, invested in more than 100 tech businesses, half of which are in Las Vegas.
DTP was also responsible for the creation of the Life is Beautiful food/art/music festival and 9th Bridge School, an early childhood education center.
The Wolff Company and 901 Fremont, an affiliate of DTP, built a mixed-use, multifamily residential project near Fremont and 9th Street and invested in Fergusons Downtown.
Although Hsieh started the company and funded it with his own money, DTP describes Hsieh as a “visionary.”
At the time of his departure as CEO from Zappos in August 2020, DTP said his departure would have no significant impact on its operations.
However, many of the properties that are owned by DTP have been included in the properties that may potentially be sold as part of Hsieh's estate.