It was an ambitious gamble — even by Vegas standards.
In 2013, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh relocated his Amazon-owned shoe company to Las Vegas' downtown district, taking over the building that was once city hall in the rundown area north of the Strip.
A year earlier, Hsieh had launched the first half of his bet: the Downtown Project, a $350 million revitalization effort to turn the neighborhood into a mecca for entrepreneurs. He invested his own money, hoping Vegas would become "the co-learning and co-working capital of the world."
Nearly five years into the project, results have been mixed. Critics point to a less-than-robust tech scene, layoffs and shuttered businesses as major stumbling blocks, while others applaud the community's transformation.
Hsieh told CNBC he's still invested in the project's success, but if he could go back, he'd do a few things differently.