Urban Enthusiast – May 2016

Urban Enthusiast – May 2016


Manhattan born and raised, Todd Kessler has long played an important role in the redevelopment of downtown Las Vegas. First, as a one-time owner of the Lady Luck and developer of the property that eventually became Downtown Grand, revitalizing Third Street along the way.  And more recently, as the real estate advisor who helped Downtown Project amass significant land holdings to breathe new life into downtown with innovative and responsive development.

While his work as a major player in the inner circle of downtown Las Vegas keeps him busy, he also serves as president and chairman of the Downtown Las Vegas Alliance, a nonprofit organization that is working to bring together various downtown stakeholders to create a cohesive marketing voice touting the area as a great place to work and live.

I grew up on the streets of Manhattan, so walking was part of my experience from a young age,” said Kessler.  “Today, walking around downtown is becoming easier and safer thanks to new vibrancy and a focus on connected developments that makes sense for the area.  Every day, I watch the evolution of downtown Las Vegas from my window overlooking Las Vegas Boulevard, and it’s obvious this area is changing for the good. The growing sense of community here is a real game changer and speaks to the passion of a large group of people who are committed to helping Downtown Las Vegas reclaim its position as the true heart of our city.”

Kessler especially enjoys Downtown Container Park, a project for which he has a special affinity given his personal role in its development.  He also appreciates and respects the pioneering energy of Fremont East that has spread as far east as 11th Street, today housing such hot spots as Writer’s Block, Chow and PublicUs.

“Like New York City, downtown Las Vegas, though significantly younger, boasts an authenticity rooted in a colorful and storied history,” said Kessler.  “You can’t make that up.  Downtown Las Vegas is the real deal.”

Kessler is currently focused on two projects: a mixed-use multifamily development on Fremont and 9th that features 231 residential units and 15,000 square feet of retail space; and secondly, the transformation of the “T” shaped alley behind Carson Kitchen and Beauty Bar that will create a designated recycling/trash area in order to remove all the dumpsters and fill the alley with public art, murals, benches and string lighting.

“Downtown Las Vegas has long been a place of opportunity, and particularly over the next five to ten years, it will continue to be an exciting place to innovate and work.  I am proud to be part of the legacy we are building here.”

Photo: Courtesy of Todd Kessler – Heather and Todd Kessler




  • 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.