VEGAS MYTHS BUSTED: Holdout Apt. Proprietor Refused Steve Wynn Sale

Posted on: February 26, 2024, 08:16h. 

Final up to date on: February 26, 2024, 10:38h.

The web has made fashionable folks heroes of real-estate holdouts who get up for what’s proper within the face of company may. One of the crucial well-known is Edith Macefield of Seattle, the little outdated woman who refused to promote her household’s 108-year-old farmhouse to builders, forcing them to assemble their business constructing round it. (If that story sounds acquainted however you don’t know why, it impressed the 2009 Pixar film Up.)

Las Vegas has a David-and-Goliath story similar to that.

Villa De Flores
The Villa De Flores is the final low-rent condo advanced left on the Las Vegas Strip. (Picture:

“In the course of the growth of The Mirage within the late Nineteen Eighties, the Villa de Flores proprietor refused to promote the property to developer Steve Wynn,” in response to

Solely, like a whole lot of different tales informed about Las Vegas, this one isn’t precisely true.

Landlord Locked

The 6/10ths-of-a-parcel lot at 3601 Vegas Plaza Drive, first bought by Blake Ruth in 1964, was bought to Mike Flores and his mother and father for round $500,000 in 1974, in response to Clark County data. The brand new homeowners constructed the 36 dwellings on the lot that also stands at present.

The Villa De Flores is a cheaply made, two-story stucco field of 480-square-foot studios and 900-square-foot one-bedrooms. A whole bunch of equivalent condo buildings nonetheless stand throughout the Southwest, the place their continued presence is often an indication of financial stress.

That’s now not the case with the neighborhood surrounding the Villa Del Flores.

The secret apartment complex behind The Mirage and Treasure Island
The key condo advanced behind The Mirage and Treasure Island — situated fewer than 50 yards from TI’s worker entrance — is one thing folks don’t often stumble throughout except they get misplaced exiting one of many resort’s parking tons.  (Picture: Google Earth)

In October 1986, on line casino mogul Steve Wynn bought the Castaways on line casino for $50 million and began shopping for up the land surrounding it.

A 12 months later, he started constructing The Mirage, whose $630 million price ticket made it the most costly resort ever. Wynn hadn’t bought all the encompassing land, nevertheless. And by the point he sought to construct his $430 million Treasure Island in The Mirage’s former parking zone in 1991, it was clear that the Villa De Flores stood smack in the way in which of his imaginative and prescient.

However right here’s the factor: Flores at all times wished to promote his property to Wynn.

I pricel like [General George] Custer, I’ve been right here so lengthy,” he informed KTNV-TV/Las Vegas in 1993. “I simply wished to retire and fade into the sundown. I’m nonetheless right here. So please, Steve Wynn, purchase the place … Please, I’m determined.”

And the rationale he was so determined by then was due to his personal greed. Whereas the parable would have you ever consider that Flores, like Edith Macefield of Seattle, gained his battle, the reality is that he determined to play hardball with somebody very out-of-his-league and misplaced.

Very exhausting.

Actual-life Pirate Battle

The Villa de Flores
The Villa de Flores affords studio and one-bedroom residences beginning at $1,050 per thirty days. (Picture: KSNV-TV/Las Vegas)

Seeing the property as his lottery ticket, Flores demanded $6 million from Wynn, which was unreasonably excessive. On the time, the entire assessed worth of the land and buildings was solely $291,870, in response to county data.

Wynn refused to be extorted, however countered with a still-generous $2 million. And should you’re questioning why the 2 males couldn’t simply meet within the center at $4 million, it’s as a result of these had been each very cussed males.

The truth is, after Flores rejected Wynn’s provide, the on line casino mogul centered his power on methods to retaliate towards Flores — a minimum of, in response to Flores.

Wynn could or could not have inspired Clark County to schedule roadwork in a way that minimize off all site visitors out and in of Villa De Flores, as Flores claimed. However he very purposefully located one thing throughout the road from the condo constructing that made tempers, amongst different issues, explode.

Three enormous tanks had been buried just a few hundred toes from the Villa De Flores. They saved all of the propane needed for “Battle of Buccaneer Bay,” Treasure Island’s fiery free pirate present on the Strip.

In 1999, one of many tanks went up in flames. Miraculously, not one of the condo residents was injured within the blast or ensuing hearth. It was dominated unintentional, although Flores referred to as it an “accident ready to occur.”

“Steve Wynn is to the good-neighbor coverage what Jeffrey Dahmer is to eating etiquette,” Flores mentioned round that point, in response to the Las Vegas Overview-Journal.

Spite Resort

Las Vegas fire crews
Las Vegas hearth crews battle a 1999 hearth throughout from the Villa De Flores residences in 1999. (Picture: KSNV-TV/Vegas)

In 1997, Flores fired the subsequent salvo in what had turn into a real-life pirate battle. He determined to public sale off the land beneath his property to the very best bidder.

Apparently, he figured that the specter of situating an excellent wealthier, extra avowed Wynn enemy between his personal two mega-resorts would lastly power Wynn to come back near or meet his $6 million demand.

However Flores’ plan backfired. Solely three entities registered for the public sale:   

  1. A shopping mall developer named Martin Cable, who began the bidding at $1 million and by no means went greater;
  2. Imperial Palace proprietor Ralph Engelstad, who, six years earlier, had bought 20% of the Villa De Flores for $1 million; and
  3. A consultant of The Mirage, who didn’t place a single bid.

Flores ended up outbidding Engelstad for his personal constructing at $3.5 million, turning into its sole proprietor.

Not sunk but, Flores subsequent introduced plans to redevelop the Villa De Flores right into a nine-story resort and timeshare tower that might compete with each its next-door neighbors. A long time later, Larry David would have referred to this as a “spite resort.”

Wynn returned hearth with a lawsuit claiming that the proposed resort was too massive and would violate a number of constructing codes.

“He sued me, he sued my mother and father, he sued my architect, he sued the county commissioners,” Flores informed KSNV on the time. “I believe he sued my cat and my mother-in-law.”

Goliath Strikes On

Edith Macefield’s 124-year-old family farmhouse
Edith Macefield’s 124-year-old household farmhouse, the place she died of most cancers in 2008 at 86 years outdated, now sits between an LA Health and a Ross clothes retailer in Seattle. (Picture:

Flores by no means obtained to construct his spite resort, and by 2000, Wynn misplaced curiosity in making life depressing for him. That’s as a result of he had already bought The Mirage and Treasure Island for $4.4 billion  to the corporate that grew to become at present’s MGM Resorts.

Wynn used his windfall to purchase the Desert Inn for $270 million, knock that down, and construct the $2.7 billion Wynn Las Vegas — as soon as once more, the most costly resort ever — as an alternative.

Flores lastly bought the Villa De Flores in 2004, however to not MGM. He obtained $3.8 million from real-estate investor Kevin Golshan of L.A.

Three years later, Golshan flipped it for simply north of Flores’ authentic dream worth: $6.5 million. The client was Henderson, Nev. resident Ray Koroghli, who at present nonetheless owns the property.  

It might be shocking if Koroghli hasn’t already heard from his new neighbors, the Seminole Tribe of Florida. They’re not solely about to remodel The Mirage into the second Onerous Rock Las Vegas, tearing down the volcano to construct a 36-story, guitar-shaped resort. However we hear they’re making an attempt to get on line casino magnate Phil Ruffin to promote them Treasure Island as nicely.

Neither the tribe nor Koroghli returned On line’s emails and voicemails asking about their plans for the key condo advanced.

Search for “Vegas Myths Busted” each Monday on On line Go to to learn beforehand busted Vegas myths. Bought a suggestion for a Vegas delusion that wants busting? Electronic mail corey@on line 

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