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April 16, 2014

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Joe Schoenmann

Downtown Las Vegas Reporter

A native Wisconsinite, Joe earned a journalism degree to get out of college early but wanted none of the craft after graduation. Need for a job landed him at small Wisconsin weeklies before moving to Las Vegas in 1997. He has been recognized for his magazine profiles and his investigative stories that exposed police bias against minorities.

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Story Archive

Joe Downtown: Hsieh says Downtown Project not a charity, can't solve every community problem
Friday, Feb. 7, 2014
Community and downtown Las Vegas have been inseparably linked by the Downtown Project since its inception two years ago. But months after removing "community" from its slogan of core values — community, co-learning, collisions — and adding "connectedness," the Downtown Project now has removed all references about a "return on community" from its website.
Joe Downtown: Charles Ressler’s social media experiment is making dreams come true
Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014
His #dreamMakers Twitter idea has taken off—to the tune of thousands of followers.
Before the burn: Downtown's Life Cube an inviting canvas for artists
Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014
Downtown’s Life Cube is taking on a, well, life of its own. The 24-by-24-foot wooden cube was built last week on a poured concrete slab in the middle of the “llama” parking lot on the north side of Fremont Street between 9th and 10th streets. As soon as it was done, artists and non-artists started to paint its whitewashed walls. The upper half is being reserved for muralists, perhaps as many as 20 of whom will add their own flourishes to the cube.
Joe Downtown: Container Park proving to be major draw downtown
Monday, Feb. 3, 2014
With two months of operations under its belt, the Container Park outdoor mall on Fremont Street is doing better than expected, Downtown Project spokespeople say.
Joe Downtown: Is downtown the next Castro? Investors hope to create gay neighborhood in Las Vegas
Friday, Jan. 31, 2014
Is a "gayborhood" the next development for downtown Las Vegas? Maybe. Investors are pooling their money to buy swaths of property downtown in the hopes of creating an affordable gay neighborhood.
Joe Downtown: Downtown Cocktail Room to mark 7 memorable years
Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014
Seven years ago, Michael Cornthwaite was single, 33 and had just opened the Downtown Cocktail Room and the local economy was booming. Since then, he weathered the recession, got married, has a newborn and is about to celebrate the DCR’s seven-year anniversary.
Joe Downtown: Gentrification has arrived. Could it be a good thing?
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014
There seems to be both pros and cons attached to that nasty buzzword.
Joe Downtown: Independent bookstore opening in old motel
Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014
This will be good news to anyone who thinks downtown is being flooded with too many taverns, to say nothing of those who miss a good old-fashioned bookstore.
Joe Downtown: Linq official suggests shuttle could move tourists downtown
Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014
Caesars sees the Linq as something so unique that it is considering the possibility of shuttling customers between it and downtown as part of the overall unique experience the development wants to bring its Strip customers.
Joe Downtown: Downtown Project backing independent film project
Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014
Downtown Project will invest in an independent film starring 19-year-old Dakota Fanning. Chris Ramirez, owner/partner of Downtown Films and founder of Silver State Production Services and Lola Pictures, is listed as a producer on the movie. He said the project’s investment constitutes almost the entire budget of the film, directed and written by Gerardo Naranjo.
Seasoned musicians among street performers sharing their talents at downtown's Experience
Friday, Jan. 24, 2014
More than a decade ago, lawyers wrangled for years in court fighting for people's right to distribute pamphlets on the Fremont Street Experience, the four blocks of East Fremont Street blocked to vehicle traffic under a city-funded electric canopy.
Joe Downtown: Food court's success raising hopes for Neonopolis' owner
Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014
Maybe this time Neonopolis owner Rohit Joshi has a hit on his hands. Neonopolis, long maligned because of the numerous businesses there that have started then folded, saw its newest tenant, the International Eatery, packed Thursday afternoon. Outlets for Italian, Asian and Mexican cuisine served lines of people who filled tables in space that was formerly occupied by Luna Rossa Italian restaurant.
Joe Downtown: Walls scouted for next Life Is Beautiful murals
Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014
Planning for the next Life Is Beautiful festival began almost as soon as the two-day festival ended in October. But one of the most visible and unexpectedly controversial parts of the festival — its street art program — really got rolling this week.
Joe Downtown: Las Vegas and the Harvard MBAs: More help from beyond state lines?
Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014
After a University of Iowa class used the city as a laboratory last year, a couple of Ivy Leaguers follow their lead. They visited town last week, meeting with people from small and large businesses, UNLV, government, neighborhood associations, law enforcement and, well, me.
Joe Downtown: Study finds downtown arena could net $21 million a year — if people buy into it — but would cost businesses
Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014
A downtown arena is a can’t-miss business opportunity. At least that’s what a consultant concludes about a city proposal to partially fund and own an arena in Symphony Park. The $400 million arena could generate about $21 million in profit annually, according to the internal report obtained by VEGAS INC.
Lawyers have made a home in downtown Las Vegas
Their offices line the streets of residential area
Monday, Jan. 20, 2014
In this old Las Vegas neighborhood, most of the homes are occupied only during the day, and then by some of the city’s most prominent lawyers, their paralegals and secretaries. The area is known as “Lawyers Row.”
Joe Downtown: Artist's burning desire coming closer to reality
Friday, Jan. 17, 2014
Scott Cohen just received a shipment of 22,000 pounds of wood. Now the real work begins on Life Cube, Cohen’s vision-turned-reality to build a 24-by-24-foot cube, and dozens more 8-by-8-foot cubes, fill them with the wishes of thousands of people, then burn them in a downtown parking lot.
Joe Downtown: Arts Commission considers bringing 'Paintbrushes' together
Friday, Jan. 17, 2014
Las Vegas Arts Commission members are considering moving one of two massive metallic paintbrushes situated downtown to create a more visible gateway to area’s Arts District.
Joe Downtown: Zappos ranked among Fortune magazine’s top 100 employers
Friday, Jan. 17, 2014
The one company downtown that seems to get work environment right is also the only Nevada company to make Fortune magazine’s list of the 100 best companies to work for.
Joe Downtown: Letter-filled coffin illustrates protesters' opposition to treaty
Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014
Protesters today delivered more than 100 letters to the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas, urging Nevada’s congressional delegation to fight the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation trade agreement. Angie Morelli, leader of the group, said the TPP, as it is more commonly known, would virtually provide the legal means for agricultural businesses to ignore any attempt at GMO labeling.
Joe Downtown Radio: Community reacts to suicide
Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014
Suicide has become a topic of quiet discussion in downtown Las Vegas after a 24-year-old Downtown Project employee died after a fall from his apartment building last week. Investigators are treating it as a suicide.
Joe Downtown: Microbrewery seeks permit to open in old furniture store
Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014
It looks like another microbrewery could be headed downtown, this one on Main Street in the Arts District, near Charleston Boulevard.
Downtown business owners 'quite fearful' of tax burden in latest arena plan
Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014
It won’t be easy to find a downtown business operator who favors an 11th-hour arena proposal in large part because of a tax the city wants to levy on downtown businesses to help pay for it.
Joe Downtown: A Downtown Project death leaves many questions unanswered
Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014
Among them: "If Downtown is such a great community, why didn’t he feel comfortable enough to reveal his inner anguish to someone?"
Joe Downtown: Downtown land buyer named CEO of Life Is Beautiful festival
Monday, Jan. 13, 2014
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.
Joe Downtown: Massive windmill may power Downtown Project's latest venture
Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014
Another bar-restaurant venue — this one includes a 90-foot windmill — is planned for Fremont Street, courtesy of the Downtown Project.
Joe Downtown: Garth Brooks tours downtown, sends Zappos employees pizza
Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014
Garth Brooks also has some friends in high places, it appears. Several people reported seeing Brooks last week walking around downtown with Zappos CEO and Downtown Project partner Tony Hsieh.
Joe Downtown: What if you build it and the suburbanites don't come?
Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014
Do people outside the Downtown bubble know what's going on in the neighborhood? Do they care?
Joe Downtown: Developer planning boutique hotel downtown
Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014
Plans for a high-rise hotel downtown without a casino will be considered by a city commission next week.
Joe Downtown: With influx of residents, can a downtown theater thrive?
Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014
Here is more evidence that downtown's redevelopment has taken off: Ideas once merely discussed are becoming a reality. One of those is an eight-screen movie house, tentatively called Eclipse Theater, that would include bar service and a restaurant. Plans will go before the city Planning Commission next week, when the developer will seek a special-use permit for the property. Sharet Holdings II LLC is the developer of the 53,855-square-foot project on 0.80 acre on the southwest corner of Gass Avenue and 3rd Street, on the same block as Newport Lofts, a downtown high-rise.
As 2014 begins, what’s next for downtown Las Vegas?
Monday, Jan. 6, 2014
By the end of 2014, parts of downtown Las Vegas will look much different than they do now. Old motels and hotels will be refurbished and transformed for new uses. Ground is expected to be broken on much needed mid- and high-rise residential projects. On the flip side, while redevelopment will continue, it might not come as quickly as some might expect.
Joe Downtown: The area's 2013 sea change was one for the record books
Monday, Dec. 23, 2013
A look back at the year from Life Is Beautiful and SlotZilla to random bag checks at Container Park.
Joe Downtown: With one man’s dedication, 'Pawn Stars' is becoming a play
Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013
The stage production is the brainchild of Derek Stonebarger, a minority owner of Downtown's Atomic with a 20-year background in theater, film and television.
Joe Downtown Radio: People really are raising kids downtown
Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013
Guess what? People not only live downtown, they have the audacity to raise kids there.
Joe Downtown: Random bag searches halted at Downtown Container Park
Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013
A policy of randomly checking the bags of people entering the Downtown Container Park is no more. Michael Downs, executive vice president of operations for Downtown Project, said the policy is being dropped.
Joe Downtown: Food court taking place of Luna Rossa at Neonopolis
Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013
Downtown Las Vegas now has six, not seven, restaurants whose menus include pizza. Luna Rossa, on the first floor and southwest corner of Neonopolis, has closed.
Joe Downtown: Slotzilla undergoing tests, unlikely to be open by New Year's Eve
Monday, Dec. 16, 2013
Slotzilla almost has its legs. Workers started testing the 1,750-foot-long zipline today, hoisting a man-sized and weighted dummy into the elevator, shipping it up 12 stories, then harnessing it and letting it go.
Joe Downtown: Every dog has its day — downtown, it's Saturday
New Hydrant Club training academy opens this weekend
Monday, Dec. 16, 2013
In downtown Las Vegas, where dog ownership is perhaps second to laptop ownership, this weekend will become something of a milestone.
Joe Downtown: Customers complaining about searches at Downtown Container Park
Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013
The new Downtown Container Park has a random bag-checking policy that has upset some customers who have voiced their ire online — and park operators are listening.
Joe Downtown: Tony Hsieh inspires out-of-town developer to fast track housing, retail plans
Friday, Dec. 13, 2013
Kevin Plencner sounds like a missionary ready to help bring about the second coming. His Oak Brook Realty and Investments is gearing up to be a major part of downtown's rebirth. Not only does the Illinois-based company own the multistory, public parking garage directly north of the Clark County Justice Center, it also owns a block of Casino Center Drive that it wants to convert into a mid-rise, affordable housing, commercial and office complex.
Joe Downtown: Las Vegas may as well not have offered free Wi-Fi
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013
The service is slow to connect and isn't offered in convenient Downtown areas.
Joe Downtown Show: Art is starting to cover downtown walls, but one mural is already gone
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013
Murals, several stories high, courtesy of artists commissioned by organizers of October's Life Is Beautiful festival, transformed some of the ugliest, most base parts of the city's urban core into must-see works.
Joe Downtown: Businesses bringing unique items to downtown
Monday, Dec. 9, 2013
Although we’re still waiting for the indoor ski hill and bar-in-an-elevator-car Tony Hsieh mentioned a few years ago, there are a few rarities coming to East Fremont Street soon.
Joe Downtown: Man out to ease life on the street with Backpack Bed
Friday, Dec. 6, 2013
Tony Clark’s mission is to save the world’s homeless through an invention he says God gave him the idea for in church in 2007.
Joe Downtown: HUD secretary looks to downtown Las Vegas for inspiration for government support
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013
Secretary Shaun Donovan says Las Vegas' redevelopment efforts can teach the federal government a lot about how to become a catalyst for growth in urban cores in the U.S.
Joe Downtown: The decision to cover an LIB mural has launched a worthy discussion
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013
"What bothers me is the idea of who decides what is 'positive' or 'negative' art?"
Joe Downtown: Bars, Mob Museum to celebrate repeal of Prohibition
Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013
References to Prohibition Era drinking has practically gone viral downtown.
At least three businesses are celebrating the repeal of Prohibition, which was a Constitutional ban on alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933.
Joe Downtown: Ballet teacher's relocation sparks bigger issue with downtown redevelopment
Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013
Welthy Silva, a ballet teacher with about 30 students in a small studio downtown, is 95 percent sure she will be moving out in a few months. But not because she wants to.
Joe Downtown: Nothing unusual — or more unusual than normal — about Zappos office on busy Cyber Monday
Monday, Dec. 2, 2013
In the brain center of one of the largest online retailers in the country, it is not immediately apparent that today is one of the busiest days of the year for Zappos.com and its discount site, 6pm.com. That is, there’s nothing weird going on — beyond the fact that many employees are walking around with aluminum foil affixed to their noggins as antennae, headpieces, crowns or pointy hats.
Joe Downtown Show: We know who the millenials are, but what are they about?
Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013
I remember my first millennial. It was the day after Zappos announced it was going to move its headquarters from Henderson into downtown’s City Hall. I was to meet Tony Hsieh at the Zappos HQ in Henderson. Waiting in a nondescript room that employees used as a shortcut, with big windows that everyone could see through, I found it a little strange. But I figured I’d be escorted to the CEO’s mahogany-walled corner office shortly. Instead, this “kid” walks in with a blue T-shirt, jeans and sneakers. “Where’s Mr. Hsieh?” I asked. "That’s me," he said.

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