Danville City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to rezone 1100 W. Main St. in Schoolfield as a casino entertainment district for the planned Caesars casino in Virgnia.
Caesars Entertainment officials told Danville City Council members Tuesday night they are months from awarding a contract to demolish existing structures on the property that will hold the planned $400 million Caesars Virginia casino.
Caesars Virginia senior director of design and constriction Mark Schlang told council members the company would present the casino’s final design soon. In addition, the old 750,000-square-foot finishing building will be demolished, Schlang told the council.
“We are in the process,” Schlang told council members. “We've received bids for the first phase, which is demolition of the existing structures on the property and hopefully, we'll have an award here within the next couple of weeks. Coupled with that, we're doing a hazardous material survey of the property right now.”
Casinos were approved by voters in 2020 for Danville, Norfolk, Bristol and Portsmouth.
Richmond has chosen a casino operator and will seek voter approval in November.
Caesars Virginia Details
Caesars Virginia will be a resort with 300 or more hotel rooms, a 2,500-seat live entertainment venue, 35,000 square feet of conference space, a spa and a casino. Groundbreaking on the casino is planned for fall 2021, with a projected opening to the public in the second half of 2023. Caesars presented a $15 million upfront payment to the city in December.
“Everywhere we go, people are wondering when construction and everything is going to start,” Danville Mayor Alonzo Jones said during the meeting.
Opening the floor for public comment, one viewer watching the meeting over Facebook inquired about opening a temporary casino in Danville. “From an outsider following the casino, many hope that you would be able to add a temporary casino until the final is built. Much like the Two Kings Casino in Kings Mountain, N.C.”
“There is a lot of excitement in our community,” Jones said.
Caesars in Final Design Phase
But Schlang said the company is still in the final design phase.
“We're designing,” Schlang said. “Our team is hard at that effort right now. Hopefully, here in the next couple of months, we'll be able to start to share some exciting pictures and some visions of where we're headed with the project. We're coordinating some dates right now for some internal work sessions and then hopefully here within the next couple months we'll be able to start sharing.”
Schlang told council members Caesars is looking at traffic, roads, highways and overall infrastructure in the city. “We've done one traffic study already,” he said. “There may be another one in conjunction with the Schoolfield master plan.” Caesars plans to build the casino at the former Dan River Inc. site in Schoolfield at the West Main Street location.
Virginia launched sports betting on Jan. 21 and expects to have casinos with retail sportsbooks in 2022 and 2023. The state has exceeded $1 billion in total wagering handle since launching.