Why I Moved to Las Vegas (Hint: Downtown Project)
I’ve always been attracted to Vegas, for reasons unbeknownst to most people. It seems that most associate Vegas with “Sin City,” partying, hookers or even pathological gambling, but that’s hardly the case. You see, if you weren’t on the strip – you wouldn’t even know you were in Vegas.
My Fiancé and I at Lake Las Vegas – 20 miles east of the strip
Why Vegas? Why NOT?
It’s not for everyone, but for some it’s everything. First, let me deal with common objections:
- It’s too hot – That’s a personal preference. I’d rather be too hot, than too cold. And while it’s true that Vegas can see highs of 110 in the summer, there is a simple solution.. AC. Also, 90° actually feels like 90° as Vegas tops the list of major cities with the lowest humidity. If you can’t handle the heat,
get out of the kitchenmove to the Pacific Northwest! That’s where I’m from, where it rains about 160 days out of the year. And the days it isn’t raining? Overcast and cold. Think it’s tolerable? Not for me.
- The Strip gets old – Yes it does. I’ve only had to visit a handful of times to tell you that. But again, if you weren’t on the strip – you wouldn’t even know you were in Vegas. PS. My girlfriend still loves the strip.
- You’ll lose all your money! – I’m not much of the gambler. I seldom bet against the house, only wagering my skill against the skill of another player (ie. poker). So while easy access to casinos isn’t favorable for most, it’s +EV for me.
- Inexpensive Housing – With prices at 20-year lows, Vegas ranks as best city in the county to buy a home instead of renting.
- No State income tax - Nevada is 1 of 9 states without a state income tax.
- Cheaper Gas – On average, Nevada’s gasoline prices are lower than other west coast states. Also, Vegas is a small city, that means less driving.
- No natural disasters – Believe it or not, this weighed heavily on my decision on whether to move to California or Las Vegas. The San Andreas Fault runs through California and is reportedly overdue for a massive earthquake.
The Real Reason
A few months before I moved to Vegas, I tweeted:
— Jay Soriano (@jay_soriano) January 25, 2012
If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve heard of the Downtown Project. As soon as I read that article, I instantly knew I wanted to live in Vegas and be a part of the Vegas Tech community. A couple months later and here I am. Driven by purpose. Inspired by passion. Collaborating with a community with the same goals.
The Downtown Project
I read the articles and heard the stories about the Downtown Project. But when I actually moved down here, I felt a little duped. Aesthetically, there’s still much left to be desired. But I shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. The Downtown Project is in motion, there are plenty of events, its aspirations of being the shipping container capitol of the world is underway, First Friday is spurring a thriving arts & music culture, and co-working hangouts like usr/lib and upcoming Work In Progress are bringing together a passionate community.
My biggest issue is that housing options are limited. The best option is centrally located high-rise, “The Ogden,” but with rent starting at $1,500+ for a 1br, that’s a little high considering condos can be found for under 75k. The Downtown Project has dedicated $200m for residential development and real estate, an entrepreneurial-priced (aka budget) building with 100′s of entrepreneurs would be an attractive asset.
From what I’ve heard, there’s still a lot of skepticism in regards to the Downtown Project. However, I remain an eternal optimist. Granted, I moved from Portland, OR, a city that hosted one of the biggest downtown revitalizations. The Pearl District of downtown was an industrial area, now it’s known for its art galleries, upscale businesses, and high-rise buildings. And most recently, Mark Zuckerberg bought himself a condo in the Pearl (and a dog fwiw). I see that same potential for Downtown Las Vegas. And while I believe the Downtown Project is taking a lot of cues from the Pearl District, it isn’t trying to be the next Portland, but the one and only Las Vegas.