Vegas Strip’s First Jewish Hotel and Temple Proposed for Half-Acre Once Coveted by Steve Wynn

Posted on: April 2, 2024, 05:18h. 

Last updated on: April 3, 2024, 10:11h.

Plans for the Last Vegas Strip’s first Jewish-themed hotel, featuring its first synagogue and kosher restaurants, have been submitted for approval to Clark County. Equally as interesting as the proposed King David Hotel, however, is the history of the strange parcel of land on which its developer wants to build it.

Renderings of the King David, as proposed by Vegas developer Ray Korghli, show a 648-foot-tall structure shaped like Manhattan’s Citicorp Center. (Image: Clark County)

The King David, as proposed by Vegas developer Ray Korghli, would feature 486 rooms in a 648-foot-tall structure shaped like Manhattan’s Citicorp Center.

In addition to the Strip’s first synagogue and kosher restaurants, plans submitted to Clark County say the hotel would also feature a kosher banquet facility and retail and convention space.

A Call for It

Having a hub on the Strip is an idea that Jewish leaders have wanted for years. The nearest synagogue, Chabad of Southern Nevada, is four miles from the Strip. And kosher eating on the Strip is limited to a handful of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf locations inside resorts, while the nearest full kosher kitchen is six miles from the Strip.

Those are far walks for the most observant of Jews, who follow strict Torah law forbidding them from riding in cars or even using electricity on Saturdays.

When orthodox Jewish people come to Vegas to attend conventions, makeshift prayer meetings and kosher kitchens can be assembled. Last year’s “Passover Shabbation Las Vegas” was staged at Resorts World during Passover.

But a permanent hotel on The Strip would make Las Vegas a year-round destination for Jewish tourism for the first time in its existence.

Strange History

The King David would be built at 3601 Vegas Plaza Drive, a small, unique, and strange parcel of land. Located on 0.6 acres right between and behind the Mirage and Treasure Island, it is currently occupied by a low-rent apartment complex that was once at the center of a fiery battle between Steve Wynn and its former owner.

The Villa De Flores, the very last low-rent apartment complex left on the Las Vegas Strip, is located between the Treasure Island parking structure, left, and The Mirage. (Image:

Though Steve Wynn bought up all the land surrounding The Mirage to will his dream into reality in 1987, Mike Flores and his family saw the opportunity to extort the casino mogul for much more than their tiny parcel’s assessed value of $291,870 (including its buildings).

Flores, whose parents built the apartment building in 1975 on land they had owned for more than a decade before that, demanded $6 million.

Wynn countered with $2 million. And when Flores rejected his offer, both parties went to war.

Las Vegas fire crews battle a 1999 fire across from the Villa De Flores apartments in 1999. (Image: KSNV-TV)

Real-Life Pirate Battle

Wynn buried three huge propane tanks only a few hundred feet from the Villa De Flores. They stored the fuel necessary for “Battle of Buccaneer Bay,” Treasure Island’s fiery free pirate show on the Strip.

In 1999, one of the tanks went up in flames. Miraculously, none of the apartment’s residents was injured in the blast or ensuing fire. It was ruled accidental, though Flores called it an “accident waiting to happen.”

Steve Wynn is to the good-neighbor policy what Jeffrey Dahmer is to dining etiquette,” Flores said around that time, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Flores fired a return shot over Wynn’s bow in the form of his own proposed hotel on the site. But he dropped his idea for a nine-story tower when Wynn responded with a massive lawsuit claiming the structure would be too big and violate several building codes.

Plans call for the King David to be built on the site of the Villa De Flores apartment building, which is fewer than 50 yards from the Treasure Island’s employee entrance, and only slightly farther from the Mirage. (Image: Google Earth)

Flores sold the land for $3.8 million in 2004, years after Wynn sold both The Mirage and Treasure Island. Koroghli purchased the Villa De Flores for $6.5 million in 2007.

Whether current Treasure Island owner Phil Ruffin, or the Seminole Tribe of Florida, which owns The Mirage and is in the process of transforming it into the next Hard Rock Las Vegas, will object to such a large commercial structure as the King David situated so close to their properties is a question that will most certainly be answered later in the permit approval process.

Though the proposal appeared on the agenda for the April 3 Clark County Zoning Commission meeting, initial public discussion about the proposal is likely to be tabled until June because Clark County staff have recommended minor changes.

Koroghli did not return voicemails left by seeking comment for this story.