You wouldn’t think that a one acre site in the dilapidated downtown Las Vegas corridor would be home to a burgeoning Airstream community and a multi-millionaire Internet genius, but right now it’s where brilliant minds like Zappos.com‘s CEO Tony Hsieh are reinventing the “trailer park” stereotype and turning urban living on its head.
Known as his “Airstream living experiment,” Hsieh told the Las Vegas Review Journal that he’s temporarily moved into his own trailer park located in the grungy East Fremont district between Ninth and 10th streets. About 20 Airstreams now shine in the hot Vegas sun where they house Hsieh and a creative team of friends, colleagues and visitors, many of whom are working hard to revitalize the downtrodden downtown area into a walkable community filled with start-up businesses, retail and entertainment venues.
A long-time Burning Man Festival enthusiast, Hsieh nicknamed the park “Llamaopolis,” in honor of his pet llama Marley. He told the newspaper that some of the inspiration for the park project came from his experiences at the annual Labor Day festival, which fosters a strong sense of community among thousands of like-minded temporary residents.
Living in his trailer park is like Burning Man, but without the dust. “I see my neighbors a lot more now than I did when living in a house in the suburbs or living in an apartment building” he told the Journal early this year.
Hsieh ‘s company has long been a player in the Vegas tech scene. When Zappos outgrew its existing office space, Hsieh didn’t want to build sprawling new complex but instead saw the possibilities in revamping downtown Vegas. He moved his business into the downtown area while holding fast to his vision of a walkable, thriving revamped neighborhood with fun places to hang out, dog-friendly parks and a supportive start-up environment for new businesses.
About two years ago personally invested $350 million into “The Downtown Project,” which has since launched several futuristic-like watering holes, including Container Park. This urban revitalization project features small start-up retail and shopping businesses housed in 30 refurbished shipping containers and 41 modular metal cubes. The centerpiece is a giant treehouse playground for kids of all ages.
Hsieh, who at age 41 only takes a $36,000 salary from Zappos in exchange for the freedom to run the company as he sees fit, is living in the park with his pet llama and friends from around the globe. The Airstream trailer park has some amenities but Hsieh describes it as a work in progress.
“We’ve talked about possibly one day building the world’s largest Airstream hotel and/or residence to provide a unique hotel/living experience in downtown Vegas,” Hsieh wrote in an email to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “Part of the goal of the living experiment is to figure out what amenities and elements would make it a fun and memorable experience.”
Often called “The O.G. of full-time RVing,” Rene Agredano and her husband Jim Nelson hit the road in a fifth wheel trailer in 2007, after their dog Jerry lost a leg to terminal cancer. Sixteen years later they are still traveling and sharing their nomadic adventures at LiveWorkDream. As a self-employed wordsmith, Rene shares her expertise for many RV industry videos, publications such as the Escapees RV Club Magazine, and has authored numerous books, including the Essential RVing Guide to National Parks, and Income Anywhere, a guide to earning money on the road. She has been featured in global media outlets including the PBS documentary “NATURE: Why We Love Cats and Dogs,” The Guardian Sunday Edition, and the Dan Pink book Free Agent Nation.
Ted Tube says
I worked on 11th and Fremont for many years and was so very impressed with your involvement in the revitalization of the area. I retired in 2014 and am presently a full time RV’er
I would encourage you to look at the Lazydays KOA in Tucson AZ to see what a great park can accomplish, from a Solar system that powers the entire park and generates excess energy (this is a 400 plus site RV park) They took a run down neighborhood and with help from the city kept the roads (super wide ) and made a world class RV park. In addition they have the Lazydays RV (air stream dealer) just outside of the gates. I am probably not able to put in perspective properly the possibilities that exist for an area like downtown Vegas for this type of park, much like this park we are in a run down area of town, but i encourage you to read the reviews from customers who stay here. Just go to KOA.com and look up Lazydays KOA Tucson AZ
Thanks for taking a minute to review