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May 24, 2015

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Joe Downtown: County records show Downtown Project, Hsieh buying up properties

You can’t swing a dead laptop without hitting someone downtown talking about “Downtown Project” and the Oz-like dreams of more and more development the project is expected to bring to East Fremont and surrounding areas.

Grocery stores, bars, restaurants, the storage container park, a geodesic-dome electronic Holodeck-like thing, places to live and sleep. And on and on.

But where?

We checked county records to see which properties had been purchased by the various LLCs created by partners Downtown Project, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and developer Andrew Donner. Some of the records online seemed in need of an update, but most of it was there.

In sum, about 8 acres between Las Vegas Boulevard to the west and 11th Street to the east have been purchased since February for about $19.5 million .

But that’s not the full complement of properties. Sources say Hsieh and Co. have just closed on a few more properties, including the venerable Ferguson Motel. Many of the deals haven’t been formally signed, so county records aren’t entirely updated.

Of the properties viewable online, much of the acreage fronts Fremont, other parcels are on side streets. One of the biggest assemblages consists of half of a block between Seventh and Eighth streets on the south side of Fremont. Along with acreage at Seventh and Carson Avenue, the total is about 2 acres for $6.6 million. The half-block piece of this is going to be used for the storage container park, which should be done late next year.

Another big assemblage is an area farther east between Ninth and 10th streets on the north side of Fremont, then south of Fremont between 10th and 11th streets. Roughly 5 acres was purchased in that area for $7.9 million. Other pieces of land up to 11th are owned by a patchwork of family and business entities.

Joe Schoenmann doesn’t just cover downtown, he lives and works there. Schoenmann is Greenspun Media Group’s embedded downtown journalist, working from an office in the Emergency Arts complex.

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