LAS VEGAS -- A recent study by Applied Analysis showed the neighborhoods east of downtown Las Vegas are the most impacted when it comes to the high number of vacant homes and people who depend on social services.
Some investors believe that makes the area a perfect place to buy.
Developments like Zappos which is moving into the old city hall building and the construction of the Downtown Grand are giving some people high hopes. One realtor believes surrounding neighborhoods will make a comeback because of the downtown revitalization.
It's hard for some to see past the signs of old age on most downtown homes. The homes were built decades ago.
"I wound up acquiring the two up top here on the Mayfair tract, this one over here, the yellow one, and recently just purchased this one," said Richard Emanuele with Simply Vegas Real Estate.
He sold his Summerlin home and put nearly everything he has into buying downtown homes for investment.
"Everybody says downtown is the hardest hit zip code but if you show me a vacant property or hard hit zip code, I'll show you opportunity," he said.
He owns 13 houses in one of the most economically depressed areas of Las Vegas. He buys a house low, spends between $20,000 to $40,000 fixing it up and then rents or sells the home. Emanuele is betting the downtown revitalization project will have a ripple effect on the neighborhoods around it.
He believes the neighborhoods are a magnet for young professionals who want to live close to where they work.
"It would be so cool to move somewhere new and be able to build a community," said Jasmine Gow, who is with a group of young entrepreneurs from New York. They are touring the downtown area. They were invited by the Downtown Project which is hoping to attract tech start up companies to Las Vegas.
"I definitely see a lot of young professionals coming down to work here because of the investment initiatives Tony Hsieh and the Downtown Project have to offer," Gow said.
Emmanuele says he can tell the neighborhood is changing and it is paying off for him.
"The opportunity down here is incredible. I started buying houses down here three years ago for $26,900 for a three bedroom, two bathroom, they're worth roughly 80 to $85,000 a piece right now."
Zappos company officials say they plan to move into their downtown headquarters in a few weeks. More than 1,500 employees will work out of the old city hall building.
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