Great news for all who believe in the revitalization of Fremont Street. Tony Hsieh, the head of Zappos and the Downtown Project, has bought the old 7-11 building at Fremont and Las Vegas Blvd.
Hsieh saved the Zick and Sharp designed City Hall from the wrecking ball when city officials decided to build and move into new digs located on Fourth Street. Zappos taking over the old building saved the building from falling victim to another strip mall or worse.
Now word comes that Hsieh's Downtown Project has plans for the old 7-11. In the 1930s the corner housed a Dollar store (yes, they were popular seventy years ago with Depression-era shoppers as they are today) run by an Asian family.
When I was growing up, it housed a Sheriff's sub-station. When the substation closed, 7-11 took over. It was popular with tourists and locals. Unfortunately, it was popular with a rougher crowd as well.
For too many years, it has been empty. The economic meltdown seemed to be the final nail in the hopes of reviving the building. Over the years, there were hopes for nightclub, restaurant and bakery. Those hopes were all dashed.
But now, that hope re-emerges. The Downtown Project, working with Michael Cornthwaite, owner of the Downtown Cocktail Lounge located next door the empty building, hopes to revitalize the building and turn it into a gathering place for community groups.
There's a lot of history on Fremont Street. It was once lined with homes and non-casino businesses. It was the first street paved back in the day and the first traffic light was on the corner where the 7-11 stands today.
We welcome Tony Hsieh, Zappos and the Downtown Project to Fremont Street and we look forward to the future!
Thanks to Mary-Margaret Stratton for use of the photo.