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Tony Hsieh’s family to sell off much of Las Vegas real estate empire

Tony Hsieh was one of the biggest property owners in downtown Las Vegas. Now, a few months after the former Zappos boss died from injuries suffered in a house fire, his family is looking to unload his holdings.

An attorney for his father, Richard Hsieh, and brother Andrew Hsieh, co-special administrators of the late tech mogul’s estate, filed more than 90 notices Wednesday in Clark County District Court, disclosing plans to sell dozens of his properties.

The parcels are largely scattered around downtown’s Fremont Street area and include Zappos’ headquarters and open-air retail and food complexes Downtown Container Park and Fergusons Downtown, records indicate.

The notices did not provide appraised values or minimum bids but said the Hsieh family would sell each property “to the highest and best bidder” and that a sale is subject to court confirmation.

Bids must be submitted in writing to the family’s attorney in the probate case, Dara Goldsmith, and each deal has the same terms: “Cash.”

As with any real estate offering, there’s no guarantee a buyer will grab Hsieh’s properties anytime soon, especially as Las Vegas’ economy remains badly battered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hsieh, who did not leave a will, was the face of downtown’s revival. It could not be confirmed Wednesday what a bulk sell-off would mean for his former side venture DTP Companies, his vehicle for buying real estate throughout downtown and for other investments in the area.

‘The time is ripe’

Neon Public Relations founder Megan Fazio said in an emailed statement to the Review-Journal on behalf of Hsieh’s estate that since he died in November, it has “received an immense amount of interest in finding ways to expand on Tony’s vision in revitalizing downtown Las Vegas through community efforts.”

She added that as Las Vegas begins to “overcome the economic interruption caused by the pandemic,” and given downtown’s location in a tax-incentive Opportunity Zone, “the time is ripe for the estate to consider all options to further implement Tony’s vision.”

The estate has been advised that all potential transactions of its real estate must be submitted to the court first, and it opted to file “all of its real estate holdings at this time and invite all the interested parties to articulate how they may contribute to the expansion of Tony’s vision,” Fazio said.

Las Vegas attorney Alice Denton, who handled the disbursement of Route 91 Harvest festival gunman Stephen Paddock’s estate, said that the family could have various reasons for listing the properties.

“They may feel that it’s a good market now, and they may make more money selling now than a year from now,” she said.

The Hsiehs are not required to sell the properties, but if an offer is made on one, the family would be expected to file a report of sale and petition for confirmation with the court.

Given the sheer volume of properties Hsieh owned, the process “will keep probate very busy,” Denton said.

Related: Officials say plan to sell Hsieh properties doesn’t dim downtown’s future

Stacey Dougan, the chef behind Container Park vegan restaurant Simply Pure, said she understands the Hsieh family’s decision to divest the assets.

“It’s his family, they’re welcome to do what they want to do. He didn’t leave a will,” she said. “I am interested to see what happens. It all depends on who buys the properties and what they want to do with it.”

Despite not knowing what’s in store for Hsieh’s properties, Dougan remains confident that downtown will continue the growth trajectory Hsieh set in motion.

“I see nothing but good things for downtown. Vegas is a growing city … and there’s still that level of mystique downtown,” she said. “The city would want to keep that going because there’s nothing else like it.”

Las Vegas mogul

Hsieh, who died at age 46 from complications of smoke inhalation from a house fire in New London, Connecticut, turned online shoe seller Zappos into a retail powerhouse and sold it to Amazon in a $1 billion-plus deal in 2009.

He also moved the company from a suburban Henderson office park to the former Las Vegas City Hall in 2013 and launched his side venture, then called Downtown Project, the year before to pump $350 million into the Fremont Street area, a slice of downtown that had grappled with drugs and prostitution.

After the coronavirus pandemic abruptly ended his once-regular stream of interactions, events and good times in Las Vegas, Hsieh, who was unmarried, emerged in the wealthy Utah ski town of Park City. He bought several houses there last year, was surrounded by new people and hosted plenty of parties.

He also seemed to display erratic behavior, and reports of his drug use sparked concern, people familiar with Hsieh’s life in Park City have told the Review-Journal.

He was replaced as CEO of Zappos last summer without a formal announcement from the company he had led for two decades.

In October, the month before he died, he made his last splash in downtown Las Vegas’ real estate market, acquiring Zappos’ headquarters for $65 million.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writers David Ferrara, Subrina Hudson and Bailey Schulz contributed to this report.

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