DVA visits Phoenix with Councilman Crear

DVA visits Phoenix with Councilman Crear


Learning about Phoenix’s efforts to address homelessness

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of joining Councilman Cedric Crear as he visited Phoenix to learn about that city’s efforts to address homelessness. As you know, Councilman Crear represents most of the Downtown area on the City Council, and he represents the Corridor of Hope, the region’s primary center for human services related to homelessness. Councilman Crear is really digging into this issue because he wants to find solutions that improve the business climate and quality of life for the residents of downtown and historic West Las Vegas.

Phoenix is about twice the size of Las Vegas, yet it has half the homeless population. This really struck me as I toured the area. How has a city of this size, with many characteristics similar to Las Vegas, managed the issue of homelessness? And what can we learn from them?

In Phoenix, we met with City officials, service providers, and the business community, and we asked them questions about how they did it. Here’s what we learned:

  • More than 30 years ago, city leaders and the business community in downtown Phoenix made a commitment to build a safe, clean, and vibrant downtown area. Led by the investment of many business leaders (including Jerry Colangelo, the owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Phoenix Coyotes, and the former president of the Phoenix Suns), the business community created Downtown Phoenix, Inc., a group not unlike the DVA
  • In partnership with the City of Phoenix and Maricopa County, the Business Community pooled their resources and helped to build the Phoenix Human Services Campus west of downtown. The county bought the land, the business community raised money for buildings, philanthropy helped with supportive services, and the City, using federal and local funds, helps to sustain the services.
  • Today, the campus is home to more than a dozen nonprofit service organizations who help people get sheltered, treated, and moved out of homelessness. Last year, more than 2,000 people were moved out of homelessness using this strategy.

In the next few months, the DVA plans to bring some Phoenix business community members out to Las Vegas to talk about how they accomplished this feat. Stay tuned.

Announcing Successes & Insights from the Public and Private Sectors: Future of Downtown Mobility

We’re really excited for our second “Successes & Insights” event of 2018, Wednesday, November 28th sponsored by Zappos. Featured speakers will include:

  • Joshua Schank, Chief Innovation Officer for the Los Angeles Metro Transportation Authority. Dr. Schank is a highly sought-after speaker on the future of mobility and is leading Los Angeles in innovative directions to ensure the continued success of their regional economy
  • Debs Schrimmer, Transportation Policy Manager from Lyft. Debs is another highly sought-after speaker, and will talk about how the private sector is viewing the future of mobility in downtown areas, including what Lyft is doing right here in Las Vegas
  • Tina Quigley, General Manager, RTC of Southern Nevada, the leader of our own regional transportation efforts; and
  • Joanna Wadsworth, Program Manager, City of Las Vegas, the leader of the City’s Downtown Loop and Autonomous Vehicle initiatives.

Mayor Carolyn Goodman will join us for opening remarks, and there will be a reception after the event sponsored by our good friends at Zappos. Hope to see you there!

DVA Members in the News

 Uri Vaknin wrote a great op-ed in the Nevada Business Press about the residential market.

The Plaza is bringing an equestrian center to downtown Las Vegas.

Downtown Project has a new name: DTP.

And Derek Stevens shares his plans for the future.

That’s all for now – hope to see you around downtown!


  • 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.