Former mayor Oscar Goodman imagined a downtown Las Vegas for locals and local businesses. He facilitated many ideas which included the preservation of historic assets and the completion of new, monumental civic and cultural buildings. In recent years, Zappos CEO and business innovator Tony Hsieh took the next step. He envisioned a downtown where Las Vegans could come together as a village – a communal place not defined by gambling and neon. The result is Container Park, perhaps the most significant contribution to the downtown area yet.
Downtown Container Park is an inviting and usable space where locals and visitors go to congregate, dine, shop and enjoy entertainment. It is a unique complex built of approximately 40 repurposed shipping containers and 43 modular Xtreme Cubes. According to Container Park’s operations director, Doug McPhail, “the original idea was to create a place of being for the neighborhood and the greater Las Vegas area. The shipping containers here have been highly modified to include insulation, water and lighting. We have the only elevator shaft in world that is known to us made out of a vertical, 40-foot shipping container.”
Xtreme Cubes are highly versatile structures manufactured in Las Vegas for use as portable housing or business structures. “They are very energy efficient and contain the highest rated glass and insulation,” McPhail said. “They can be repurposed if the park were ever dismantled. They could be put on a forklift, hauled away on a flatbed and used in a variety of other ways.”
In addition to the park’s sustainable construction philosophy, McPhail explains that “one of the most important roots of our project is advancing entrepreneurialism. We want tenants with ingredients like being the first in market, the best in market and owner/operators of start-up or new companies. We consider this an incubator for small businesses, which allows them entry into business at low risk. Sustainable business is also important to us.”
The complex’s tenants include the Trikke Academy, purveyors of three-wheeled, personal mobility devices, and a company called BlueMarble that sells unique items crafted from repurposed wine and liquor bottles. BlueMarble also employs disabled individuals through a local non-profit program, Opportunity Village, to assist in removing and preserving paper labels for use in its products.
Container Park is also a world-class venue for parties, entertainment and corporate events. “We just hosted a major event for the CES show that brought thousands of people down for the day,” McPhail said, “but the biggest and grandest events are yet to come. We have just carved out more space for special events. What was going to be more retail space will be an indoor event venue that can accommodate over 150 people attached to a bar and restaurant deck expanding to a space for several hundred.”
McPhail encourages everyone to “please pay attention to upcoming announcements, as we will be announcing some major headliners coming in, a concert series for the third Friday in May, June and July, and movies of all kinds. We are looking forward to making it a magical evening experience.”
I also had a chance to talk to local band, Newlywed, about their experience performing at the park. “From a performers’ standpoint, it really raises the bar. We have had the privilege of playing at a number of the music venues, clubs and bars in Las Vegas, and we always say that this is our favorite stage in Vegas. It’s comfortable for the musicians. We can clock out from our day job, grab a bite at Big Ern’s, get a warm cider from Bin702, and head up to the stage where we have heaters in the winter, a canopy for the summer and the famous Mike Whalen of Moonprizn catering to us on the sound board. We are also quite fond of what we refer to as ‘the world’s tiniest mosh pit’ – there is a green, grassy field in front of the stage where kids play with blue shapes and build blocks and dance to our songs.”
“As a concert-goer, you get all the perks of being in the band!” said Newlywed. “You can bring the family, you can get good food and drinks, sit by a glowing patio heater and look up at the lights of the one-and-only downtown Vegas skyline.”
“As wonderful as it has been,” McPhail said, “the best is yet to come.”
Interested in planning a special event at Container Park? Visit downtowncontainerpark.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interested in live, acoustic entertainment for your next event? Visit Newlywed at www.facebook.com/newlywedband or email email@example.com.