Urban Enthusiast – December 2014

Urban Enthusiast – December 2014


Ryan Reason, along with his business partner, Jennifer Burkart, opened their commercial photography studio just about 18 months ago in the Downtown Spaces building at 1800 S. Industrial Road. Square Shooting caters its business to meet the photography needs of Las Vegas area resorts, focusing mostly on the architecture, food and cocktails.

The team is currently working on a project for the city of Las Vegas’ Office of Cultural Affairs. They have been tasked with capturing over two dozen architecturally significant buildings in and around the downtown area. This collection of images will culminate in a gallery show and become part of the Las Vegas City Hall’s permanent collection.

The duo also shoots lifestyle and editorial images and are well known staples in the Downtown entertainment scene for arriving on bicycles and knowing everyone in the room at any given moment.

Las Vegas native or transplant?

I’m proud to say that both my wife and I are natives of Las Vegas. I’ve seen so many changes this city has gone through over the years and I know that’s one of the main reasons I stay: I enjoy the city’s constant evolution. Las Vegas is only 109 years old, which, as a city goes, is like being a teenager. I love being part of a community that is really just starting to define itself.

Where are you hanging out Downtown?

Jenn and I do lunch every day, mostly just as an excuse to get out of the office and on our bikes for a little mid-day ride. We hit Le Thai at least once a week, and everything that comes out of that little Goodwich stand in front of Dino’s is fantastic. Viva Las Arepas has a great menu of Venezuelan food that I constantly crave.

Conversations and cocktails with friends is my favorite pastime, and DTLV has more than its fair share of bars to choose from. Due to its proximitydirectly across the street from our studio, Hard Hat Lounge is a favorite after-work spot for me.  At least once a week, my friends and I pub hop on our bikes, stopping at some of our favorite places like Huntridge Tavern, Atomic Liquors, Velveteen Rabbit, and occasionally, the world famous Frankie’s Tiki Room.

I think many people would agree that The Smith Center is a crowning jewel for Downtown, as are the world class productions that fill its calendar. But for my taste, it’s hard to beat what’s happening at Cockroach Theatre inside Arts Square. I love the raw productions and the intimate setting, plus every play is produced and performed completely by local talent, which gives their shows an authenticity that can’t be found anywhere else.

What sets DTLV apart from other Vegas ‘hoods?

Growing up here, and even still today, Las Vegas tends to lack a sense of community that appears to be ingrained in most other cities. People don’t really know their neighbors and always seem to have one foot out the door, ready to move on to their next “real” city. For me, DTLV and its emergence has had a major effect on changing that attitude. Once people started to lay down roots  to make a life here, they started to find themselves and other like-minded individuals gathering around Downtown. This momentum of people interested in changing the way people view Las Vegas is finally helping to create he sense of community that has always been lacking, and it’s creating an audience for cultural events to begintaking shape. This magnetism of culture and community is what sets Downtown apart from other neighborhoods in Las Vegas.

Photo: Ryan Reason in his studio by Lucky Wenzel

  • 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.