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April 23, 2014

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Joe Downtown: Downtown land buyer named CEO of Life Is Beautiful festival

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Christopher DeVargas

Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons interacts with fans during day one of the Life is Beautiful festival in downtown Las Vegas, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013.

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Downtown’s urban-centered festival, Life Is Beautiful, has named the man largely responsible for the purchase of Tony Hsieh’s llama-shaped land acquisitions downtown as its chief executive officer.

Andrew Donner is founder and owner of Resort Gaming Group, which purchased the former Las Vegas City Hall then leased it to Zappos.com to become the online retail giant’s corporate headquarters.

Since then, he has also been responsible for the purchase of a large mass of land for Downtown Project, the $350 million private redevelopment venture of Hsieh, Zappos CEO, and other investors.

Also Monday, Life Is Beautiful announced Eve Cohen, the festival’s associate director in 2013, as its managing director.

Cohen’s experience with food and wine festivals includes 2014 director of operations of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, and associate director, executive producer and grand tasting producer of the New York City Wine & Food Festival.

In a press release, Life Is Beautiful founder Rehan Choudry said the two will be “perfect additions...essential to the festival’s growth.”

In the same release, Donner said he “could not be more thrilled,” calling the festival a “watershed moment for downtown Las Vegas.”

The festival brought together food, music, art and learning over two days to 15 blocks of downtown.

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 building.

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