LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The revitalization of Water Street in downtown Henderson has been years in the making. The once-forgotten main street has returned as a hub for employers, diners, and sports fans. The transformation is just beginning. Much of the change and vision can be attributed to Windom Kimsey,  a man laying the framework for this burgeoning area.

“Henderson has something a lot of places don’t have. It’s a singular main street, Water Street,” Kimsey said. But, blink and you might miss the changes that are happening at record speed. The area is quickly evolving into a family-friendly urban center. At the crux of this conception is a man with a plan. 

Kimsey said, “I just want to show what can be done.” And it is being done. Block by block. Kimsey’s block in fact. “I built the office first. I bought the land for the house and then I built the house,” he said.

An architect by trade, he moved his firm downtown six years ago. With that came a necessary addition. “The thing that was different than just doing an office building was adding a coffee shop. That wasn’t my idea. It was one of my employees.” Kimsey laughed and said, “Yeah, that’s a great idea. I had no idea what I was doing.”

Water Street District in downtown Henderson. (KLAS)

But it worked and Kimsey wasn’t done yet with his grand plan. Next up, his home. Next door in fact.  “I have the front of my house kind of opens up onto the street. They meet my dogs. I love that part of seeing people walking.”

Completing the live, work, and play model was missing something else. Something else he values. “The food speaks for itself,” Kimsey said of Azzurra Cucina Italiana. He opened it almost a year ago.  “I would love for this to be the next Chinatown and start attracting some of those chefs that worked at the Strip and they want to plant their flag down here.”

An architect, developer, coffee shop owner, and now a restauranter. So, really who is Windom Kimsey? “A chameleon,” he said chuckling.  “I think what I am is someone who wants to change a neighborhood.”

Changing it, he is. “I’m just sort of a pioneer. I’m not finishing this. This is a bunch of other people I haven’t met,” Kimsey said. 

So, what’s next for this renaissance man bringing new life to Water Street? He said, “Maybe a really good whiskey bar at some point. Just saying. Or some other things, right?”

Aside from the commercial growth driving the area, there are also residential plans in place. Lennar has single-family townhomes going up on Water Street. They’re unique because it’s not mixed-use. Watermark also has apartment homes going up that are almost finished as well.