The Cordish Companies has unveiled its plan for a $1.4bn casino and hotel resort in Petersburg, Virginia as it aims to be one of five venues permitted in the state.
Petersburg City Council named the firm as its unanimous choice to be the operator of the city’s casino, should it be allowed to host one. Though answering that question is a little more complicated than first meets the eye.
Cordish Companies’ $1.4bn proposals
Proposed to be named Live! Casino & Hotel Virginia, the casino will boast 670,000 square feet of gaming, hotel, dining and entertainment space; 200-room hotel; over 2,000 slots and electronic table games and 60 live-action table games including poker; sportsbook, event center, a dozen food and beverage outlets and free parking surface.
“The Cordish Companies is pleased to unveil details today for this major transformative development,” said Zed Smith, Chief Operating Officer of The Cordish Companies.
“Live! Gaming & Entertainment District will be a catalyst for change and significant urban development, will transform the City by creating a thriving entertainment and hospitality attraction for the entire rRegion, and provide first-class amenities for the local community while generating spin-off economic development, creating thousands of new jobs for area residents, and substantial opportunities for local, minority, women-owned, and veteran-owned businesses.
“We look forward to continuing our work with the City to bring their vision to life.”
Vowing to create a ‘world-class entertainment destination’, Cordish has claimed it will deliver $1.1bn in taxes over a 15-year period, whilst contributing 10,000 jobs and over $10bn to the cities’ economy throughout that same period.
Moreover, the company has promised to create 4,000 new jobs comprising 2,500 new construction jobs and 1,500 new permanent jobs averaging $60,000 in compensation with benefits, should the development be green-lighted, which may not be a given.
What’s the catch?
Currently, Virginia has just one casino; Hard Rock Bristol’s temporary site opened in July following licensing from the Virginia Lottery and has recently broken ground on its permanent site.
When in 2020, the Virginia assembly legalized casinos in the state across five cities, only four – Bristol, Portsmouth, Norfolk and Danville – were approved by voters.
This leaves one city free to build a casino, however, it has been touted that Richmond would be the beneficiary of the final casino license. Richmond failed to bring a casino to the city in a referendum defeat in 2021, with Petersburg attempting to fill in the gap.
Whilst Richmond is attempting to hold a second referendum on the matter, Petersburg is gearing up to apply to be the substitute city, with Sen. Joe Morrissey attempting to allow local lawmakers to assess the possibility of a Petersburg site.
When revealing its proposal, Cordish was clear to maintain that: “Authorization of a casino in Petersburg is subject to legislative approval by the Virginia General Assembly, Governor and licensing by applicable Commonwealth agencies including the Virginia Lottery.”
Supporting Cordish’s claim for a casino in the city, Petersburg Mayor Sam Parham added: “The details unveiled today show what the City’s vision is for this type of project and why we wanted to work with Cordish as the developer.
“An important part of our selection process was to identify a development partner with a proven track record in developing and operating mixed-use and casino properties, a long history of revitalizing cities across the country, and strong community engagement practices. Cordish is the only company, of the many we consulted with, that showed Petersburg a plan that goes beyond a casino and gives us a path to revitalize our city.
“We are confident that we have the ideal partner in The Cordish Companies to bring our vision to fruition.”