News of Note

Downtown community goes above and beyond to help each other.


A message from Carolyn Wheeler Over the past few weeks, I have had the privilege to work with our members and the community to provide hope to the survivors of the devastating Alpine Motel Apartments fire, the deadliest blaze in city of Las Vegas history.  This fire impacted 68 people in our community who lost everything in the fire; their clothes, their home, their memories, and tragically, six people lost their lives. The mission of the Downtown Vegas Alliance is to create an attractive, vibrant, diverse and sustainable downtown Las Vegas.  This is true for our businesses but also true for our community, and so we knew we needed to do whatever we could to help our neighbors. We quickly acted and started a GoFundMe page to collect funds to meet the immediate needs of those who were displaced.  We also established a location to accept item donations from the community such as clothing, toiletries and toys for the nine children who lost their homes right before the holidays.  DVA members who answered the call for help include the Mob Museum who agreed to be our item drop-off location, Lyft who offered ride vouchers and volunteers to sort items, Downtown Grand who donated blankets and pillows, and the Hydrant Club that donated items for families with pets.  I also want to thank U-Haul, Costco, Home Depot, Max Pawn and Timbers who also pitched in. Throughout the whole process, we worked with the American Red Cross of Southern Nevada along with Veterans Village, also a DVA member, to make sure that we were able to deliver these items to the survivors in a timely and coordinated manner. A lunch was hosted at Veterans Village where everyone was invited to come together and receive items that were given by the public including nearly $16,000 in gift cards thanks to community donations. The event became so much more than a vehicle to Read More



The board of directors of the Downtown Vegas Alliance (The Alliance), a member-driven nonprofit organization committed to creating an attractive, vibrant, diverse and sustainable Downtown Las Vegas, is pleased to announce the appointment of Carolyn Wheeler as executive director. Wheeler comes to the role with an extensive leadership background in strategic planning, marketing, communications, non-profit leadership, corporate social responsibility and community relations in a 30-year career that includes a five-year stint at Caesars Entertainment where she most recently served as director of philanthropy and corporate social responsibility marketing and director of the Caesars Foundation. “I’ve been fortunate to call Las Vegas home for the last 22 years,” said Wheeler. “I am passionate about creating ways for companies, non-profits and community stakeholders to come together to increase impact and improve our community, especially in the downtown area that is the heart and soul of our city. I share the commitment to help make Las Vegas the best place to work, live and play with each of the members of the Downtown Vegas Alliance.” Prior to Caesars Entertainment, Wheeler served as the Nevada state community development director for Citibank, held leadership roles at various Southern Nevada companies and non-profit organizations as well as accruing significant experience in major advertising agencies in Las Vegas and her native California. “With determination, experience, intelligence and skillful communication, Carolyn Wheeler has been a unifying and guiding force in driving positive development in Southern Nevada for the last two decades,” said Jonathan Ullman, board chair of the Downtown Vegas Alliance and CEO of The Mob Museum. “Carolyn brings strategic ideas, plans and tactics to our organization, and we look forward to working together under her leadership.” In addition to her role with the Downtown Vegas Alliance, Wheeler is a commissioner of Nevada Volunteers, a position to which she was appointed by Governor Sandoval and serves on the board of Family Read More

DVA is Excited to Share News of the IIC @ Vegas Opening


The International Innovation Center @ Vegas (IIC@Vegas), an 11,000-square-foot center for established and emerging tech companies developing smart technologies that align with city priorities, opened on September 25th.  These priorities include, but are not limited to workforce development, smart technology, at-risk populations, neighborhood development and public safety.  This co-working space is located in downtown Las Vegas and is a location organized by the city of Las Vegas. According to Scott Adams, city manager for Las Vegas, the newly named facility has been welcoming technology companies over the past several months and now counts seven established or start-up tech companies as its first tenants. Among these are Ubicquia, which offers network and IoT(internet of things) products for deploying Smart City, broadband and Small Cell services on existing streetlight infrastructures; Dyntek, an IT consulting and management firm; StartupNV, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, which engages new and experienced entrepreneurs from a wide variety of industries and business sectors; WaterStart, an international developer of water innovation and management systems; NTT, a Japanese-based global provider of information and communications technology solutions partnering with U.S. tech powerhouse Dell Technologies; Terbine, a company working on the first global exchange for machine-generated data; and SonicWall, an innovator of cybersecurity technology. Adams said the goal of the IIC@Vegas is to support and house companies in the fields of IoT (internet of things), technology, virtual reality/augmented reality, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, water technology, autonomous vehicles and possibly, sports technology. The IIC@Vegas seeks companies interested in piloting and improving efficiencies in areas that align with city of Las Vegas priorities. Companies may apply for leases at the IIC@Vegas for a period of three to 12 months during their pilot periods. If a pilot project and/or technology development is successful, the technology may be considered for deployment by the city of Las Vegas. Once a company’s lease term is complete, the city’s Economic and Urban Development department plans Read More

DVA Member Profile – Cynthia (Cindy) Dreibelbis – May 2019


Cindy Dreibelbis, Business Development & Community Impact Regional Director at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, answers questions about enjoying the many amenities of downtown Las Vegas – through work and play. As a long-time Las Vegas resident, you’ve undoubtedly seen many changes downtown. What change do you find to be most exciting? As a native Las Vegan, the most exciting change for the entire city is the introduction of professional sports.  The Vegas Golden Knights have had such a resounding positive impact on this city, and it’s exciting to witness the energy around the LV Lights FC (right in our downtown backyard), the Las Vegas Aviators and soon the Raiders. How did you land at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck? My tenure at R&R is what provided me the foundation for the job, however it was through a girlfriend and fellow DISCOVERY Children’s Museum board member who introduced me to Brownstein.  We were attending a DCM Gala when she told me of the position and it happened to align perfectly with me being ready to come out of “retirement.”  Brownstein’s culture matched what I was looking for in finding my new work home. You have worked in offices throughout the Las Vegas valley throughout your career, what is the experience like having an office located in downtown Las Vegas? Having helped R&R move into multiple offices throughout the valley, I was accustomed to different work environments. This, however, was my first experience working downtown. I love the energy of working in a high-rise office building and having the access to run down to Jason’s Deli for lunch or schedule a coffee meeting at Sambalatte. There is a great sense of community.  Our building participates in many joint activities – from volunteering for a charitable organization through Downtown Cares or planting a garden in our adopted neighborhood elementary school, to riding bikes the Molasky team provides and Read More

DVA Member Profiles – Cathy Brooks – April 2019


Cathy Brooks, Chief Human Officer of the Hydrant Club, and her 70-pound Labradoodle came to Las Vegas on vacation in the summer of 2012. She answers a few questions about her subsequent move: Where are you from originally, and how did you land in Las Vegas? I like to say I’m genetically bi-coastal. I was born and raised outside of Philadelphia, PA but spent the majority of my life in San Francisco, CA. In the summer of 2012, I came here on vacation, invited by my friend, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, to check out what was then the very nascent efforts of the Downtown Project to revitalize the Fremont East section of downtown Las Vegas. When I came on that vacation in the summer of 2012, I wasn’t alone. I brought my 70-pound Labradoodle, Truman, with me. Over the course of my 10 days here, I had no fewer than 3-4 conversations a day about the role of a dog community in this fascinating landscape of downtown. By the end of my trip I’d committed to submitting a business plan for what now exists at The Hydrant Club. What led you to create the Hydrant club and why did you choose downtown Las Vegas for the location? To go a bit further into the story. Though my previous “life” was primarily as a communication consultant in Silicon Valley, for a number of years I’d been working on the side as what I describe as a lay dog trainer. I had several clients with whom I worked on basic obedience and behavioral stabilization training. In 2001, after testifying in a murder trial where a woman had been brutally torn apart by two dogs that lived in her apartment building, I deepened my engagement on the topic of dog behavior and more importantly the evolution of the domestic dog and most importantly how to be Read More

  • Dayvid Figler and Rae Lathrop

    DF: Downtown was great as a kid and it is even greater as an adult. I love all of downtown’s hidden gems, its vibrancy, history and sense of connection. Rae is relatively newer to Las Vegas, but just as passionate about downtown. Downtown lends itself to the shared experience, and as a couple we both love seeing this part of the city through each other's eyes. Photo: Lucky Wenzel


  • Rob Ponte

    Some of the best nights I’ve experienced started out with no plan other than walking around to check out what’s going on. The great thing about having so many bars and restaurants downtown is the ability to move around if you’re not feeling the vibe in one place. There are plenty of options just outside the door. Photo: Lucky Wenzel

  • Brandon Wiegand

    The downtown Las Vegas of today has much to attract residents - a burgeoning restaurant and nightlife scene, growing diversity of businesses, and major centers of art and culture. Plus, living downtown I am easily within walking or biking distance of it all. Photo: Lucky Wenzel

  • Hank Gordon, Chairman of Laurich Properties

    It is always a pleasure to deal with the city of Las Vegas’ economic development department. The staff is really interested in helping create a positive business environment to work with.

  • Jonathan Jenkins, Founder & CEO of OrderWithMe

    As our company continues its rapid growth, we quickly realized the need to set up a formal U.S. headquarters. We explored multiple cities and were about to make the move to San Francisco, and then we heard about the complete reinvention of downtown Las Vegas. Coming from China where things are booming and growing, we love that downtown Vegas now has a similar vibe of energy and change. Not only is there an exciting tech community here and much lower costs than the Bay Area, but we love the fact that almost every industry group brings their conventions to our front door once a year.

  • Andy Hsieh, Owner of Lux Delux

    We love the vibrancy and energy of Las Vegas, and downtown is at the heart of it all. That's why we've launched our mobile platform with a focus on downtown. This is an exciting time in Las Vegas history, where community, commerce and technology are all converging at once. Downtown is our city's hidden gem.

  • Ramesh Srinivasan, Chief Marketing Officer & Head of Partnerships of SocialWellth

    We chose to relocate from the suburbs to downtown for several reasons. Our brand image and that of downtown’s mesh perfectly. The new downtown Las Vegas reflects a more hip, startup, social media-style image. Additionally, downtown’s emerging technology corridor, anchored by Zappos, is an environment that enhances our ability to recruit the types of technical skill sets required for our continued growth and success.

  • Mark Brandenburg, President of Golden Gate

    I think downtown Las Vegas is a unique blend of intimacy and great energy. Plus, in contrast to The Strip, it’s so easy to walk around…The Golden Gate has been here for over 100 years and with all the changes going on downtown, it feels like a new era. It truly is a renaissance—the rebirth of a classic.

  • Roberto Mendoza, Co-owner of Banger Brewing

    The city has been great in helping us with the licensing and procedures necessary to start a business. There hasn't been a brewery built in the city of Las Vegas for probably 10 years. So for them it hasn't been a typical ‘cut and paste’ thing. We're something different. It was a team work process to get us opened – a lot of talk and listening on both sides. And now the city started opening up the doors for other breweries once we were up and running. Good news for us and good news for the future. (Photo: Lucky Wenzel)

  • Alexandra Epstein, Executive Vice President of El Cortez Casino Hotel

    This downtown area… is emerging and where many events are happening.

  • Meghan Mossler, Owner of Stitch Factory

    The city and the department of economic development have been very helpful to us and all the other downtown business owners. It’s such a community here, and everyone asks you what you need. That kind of help launching a business is amazing and priceless.

  • Pamela Dylag, Co-owner of Velveteen Rabbit

    The city is so supportive of new businesses. Things are popping up constantly. (Photo: Lucky Wenzel)

  • Marc Abelman, CFO & Co-owner of Inside Style

    Downtown is becoming very much in demand…there’s a limited supply. Run fast, don’t walk.

  • Sam Cherry, CEO of Cherry Development

    For a while, downtown was one of the only places in the valley you would see cranes when you drove around. It was nice that city government stepped up and the private sector married with the public sector to create amazing projects that filled the gap. That was very important for us.

  • Johnny Jimenez, Owner of Toy Shack of Las Vegas

    Our business is booming amid the foot traffic on Fremont Street, and we’ve started to see how tourists are falling in love with downtown as they discover it. In the past year, we’re increasingly hearing things like, ‘Wow, next time we’ll stay downtown instead of on The Strip,’ or ‘We’ve visited downtown many times, but this is the first year we’ve actually stayed in a downtown hotel.’ They like that there is more to do within a smaller walking radius.

  • Rich Worthington, President and CEO of The Molasky Group of Companies

    Historically, downtown Las Vegas has not been a top destination for many locals, but in recent years… that trend is reversing itself. Given all the recent openings and progress, there’s much to explore and experience downtown.