Las Vegas is constantly reinventing itself with new megaresorts and high-tech attractions, but a humble historic property, far off the Strip, is proving to be among the city’s most interesting projects in years. Launched last fall, Fergusons Downtown is a mixed-use residential and retail space built at a once abandoned 1940s motel on Fremont Street.
The development is a part of Zappos.com CEO Tony Hsieh’s grand vision for the city. Since 2012, Hsieh has moved his e-commerce company’s headquarters from suburban Henderson to Downtown Las Vegas, committed around $350 million through an investment group called DTP Companies to help build “the most community-focused large city in the world,” and created Fergusons. This last project, in particular, is an effort to draw creatives back to the center of the sprawling city by forging an urban setting filled with unique amenities (a micro-hotel and skatepark are on the way) and public art, such as Mike Ross’s 42-foot-tall sculpture, Big Rig Jig, made from two old tanker trucks.
“There’s just so much amazing talent and people that have taken a leap of faith to create something unique and different,” says Fergusons Downtown cofounder and creative strategist Jen Taler. “It’s exciting to share that. We want more people to come to Vegas to find the culture and arts scene here.”
Over the past two years, about 30 residents have moved into micro-apartments and Airstream trailers on-site, and rooms at the old motel are now being repurposed as storefronts for small businesses such as Neon Cactus, a vintage store run by a queer woman of color; The Tiny Bloom, a floral design studio; and All for Our Country, a boutique that takes its name from the Nevada state motto. Food and beverage options include a new location of area favorite Mothership Coffee Roasters and two restaurants from chef Dan Krohmer: Hatsumi, which is meant to feel like a 1980s Tokyo hotel bar, and La Monja, a coastal Mexican cantina.
“We wanted to open a shop downtown,” says Roxanna Hendrickson, who founded All for Our Country with her husband, Logan. “We had been looking for a while, and we thought Fergusons was perfect, because their motto is ‘rooted in community,’ and that’s something we wanted to embrace.”