The following email was sent to Zappos Las Vegas employees yesterday:
As many of you know, Fred and I have been working on and talking about a secret project for the past year or so. The project had to remain secret because it involved a lot of complicated moving parts, the details of which would make its own interesting book one day.
Even though nothing is definite yet, we finally feel like we have enough of our ducks lined up to announce what we've been working on: The future Zappos campus!
The short version is that we hope to be able to move into the current Las Vegas City Hall location and adjacent expansion land downtown sometime in 2012 or 2013.
More details are in the joint press release that is going out today (see below), and I'll be sending out a separate email about Q&A meetings to give more color on everything as well as get everyone's ideas on what we'd like to see in a campus!
Zappos Eyes Downtown Las Vegas
Company Hopes To Relocate Headquarters To City Hall Site
In what would be a major economic boost, Zappos.com, Inc. is looking to relocate its corporate headquarters to downtown Las Vegas on the current City Hall site.
The Resort Gaming Group (RGG), wholly owned by founder and CEO Andrew Donner, made an unsolicited offer to the city of Las Vegas to buy the site and about seven surrounding acres earlier this year with the intent of developing it as a corporate campus for Zappos.
Such a move is expected to bring an initial 1,000 jobs into the downtown area. Zappos.com is a leader in on-line clothing and footwear sales by way of an unparalleled focus on customer service. Zappos is known as having a fun and family-type culture with a focus on employee happiness. Highlighting Zappos' accomplishments is inclusion in Fortune Magazine's 100 Best Companies To Work For list for 2009 and 2010.
"This will be a game changer for Southern Nevada," said Mayor Oscar B. Goodman. "This move will bring about a critical mass of creative persons to the inner core of Las Vegas in addition to causing a significant shot in the arm for the economy and for new jobs."
City leaders have noted the importance of keeping local businesses excited about being in Las Vegas. "Having Zappos in the Las Vegas area is vital to diversifying our economy beyond gaming," said City Manager Betsy Fretwell. "This move will also encourage similar companies to look at Las Vegas as a potential site for corporate headquarters."
The city had already made plans to relocate City Hall to another downtown location with a timeline to vacate the current facility in 2012. Zappos hoped to capitalize on the city's move, expressing an interest in being in a downtown environment with room to grow. The current City Hall campus and nearby city-owned properties comprise approximately 17 acres.
"At Zappos, our number one priority is our company culture. Our belief is that if we get the culture right, most of the other stuff -- like delivering great customer service and building a long-term enduring brand and business -- will be a natural byproduct of our culture," said Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, Inc. "Our proposed future downtown location will be a great urban environment that will help grow the cultures of both Zappos and Las Vegas."
Founded in the San Francisco Bay Area, Zappos first moved to the Las Vegas Valley in 2004. At the time, the fast-growing start up brought 70 employees with it.
"Zappos is among the world's most successful, progressive and forward-thinking companies as created by its incredibly visionary leaders," said Donner. "To work in partnership with Tony Hsieh, Fred Mossler and the entire Zappos team has been both humbling and enlightening. The company is committed to this
project and more importantly, to reinvigorating downtown. The support of this caliber of business leader speaks volumes for our city. We believe this project will have more impact on downtown revitalization than any other development to date."
The city had been in exclusive negotiations with The Cordish Companies to build an arena and entertainment district on the current City Hall site. City officials could not negotiate with any other potential developers unless Cordish was agreeable. The city and Cordish agreed to move the arena/entertainment complex to Symphony Park, clearing the way for RGG to discuss the purchase of the City Hall site with city leaders. A new exclusive negotiating agreement (ENA) with The Cordish Company was approved by the City Council on November 17.
The City Council must now consider the sale of the current City Hall site to RGG. The item is scheduled to be on the council agenda of December 1. If approved, the parties will enter a due diligence period, meaning this would be the first step in seeing the deal come to fruition. The transaction is expected to take several months to finalize and is expected to close by mid-2011. Construction will begin as soon as the new City Hall is complete in the spring of 2012 and city workers have transitioned to the new facility.
"The economic uplift that will be created by Zappos' move to downtown will be significant," said Donner. "Zappos' corporate campus will elevate downtown, its profile, its vibe and its appeal to both locals and tourists alike."
Established in 1999, Zappos.com, operated by Zappos Development, Inc., has quickly become the leading destination in online apparel and footwear sales by striving to provide shoppers with the best possible service and selection. The Zappos Family has gross merchandise sales exceeding $1 billion annually. Zappos.com currently showcases millions of products from over 1000 clothing and shoe brands. Zappos.com, Inc. was recognized in 2009 and 2010 by FORTUNE MAGAZINE as one of the "100 BEST COMPANIES TO WORK FOR". More information about the customer service philosophy, unique culture, and job openings can be found at http://about.zappos.com. More information about Zappos Insights, Inc. and its business membership program can be found at http://www.zapposinsights.com.
About Resort Gaming Group
Resort Gaming Group (RGG) is a Las Vegas, Nevada-based, regional hospitality management and development company founded in 2002 and privately owned by Andrew B. Donner. Currently, RGG provides management services to several businesses including gaming taverns, full-service restaurants, quick service restaurants, catering operations and casino gaming operations under the direction of President Keith E. Grossman. RGG is licensed by Nevada Gaming Control. RGG and its affiliates are partners in the redevelopment of the Lady Luck Casino and Hotel. The newly renovated hotel casino is expected to open under a new name in fall 2012 along with many new food, bar, club and retail venues in the exciting, new 3rd Street District. RGG and its affiliates are also developing approximately 100,000 square feet of retail, food, beverage and convention space surrounding The Mob
Museum, which is expected to open fall 2011.