Virginia Casino Developer in Petersburg Reveals Big Price For Project

Virginia Casino Developer in Petersburg Reveals Big Price For Project
By Keith Stein
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

The Cordish Companies unveiled details this week for a $1.4 billion “transformative mixed-use development” project, including a new casino, in Petersburg. The project needs approval by the state's legislative body and voters in 2023.

The new Live! Gaming & Entertainment District project aims to “create a world-class entertainment destination and mixed-use project with gaming that will generate billions of dollars in economic benefits and spinoff development, create thousands of new jobs and benefits to the local community, and become a major new tourist destination for the city,” The Cordish Companies said in a company press release. The venue will be at the intersection of Wagner Road and Interstate 95.

The latest casino proposal in the state is part of a burgeoning gaming scene in the state including online Virginia sports betting.

What Petersburg Seeks in Casino Deal

Petersburg Mayor Sam Parham said the city was looking for a development partner with a proven track record in developing and operating mixed-use and casino properties.

Cordish, based in Baltimore, has developed some of the most successful casino entertainment resorts in the US, such as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla.; the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa; Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland; Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia; and Live! Casino Pittsburgh.

The city chose Cordish as the Petersburg casino developer in October.

“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,” Parham said in the Cordish press release.

The new casino project “will transform the city by creating a thriving entertainment and hospitality attraction for the entire region,” said Zed Smith, chief operating officer of The Cordish Companies.

The plan is to build the venue in phases. Once fully built, the Live! Gaming & Entertainment District will generate over $10 billion in economic stimulus to the region, $1.1 billion in total tax revenues, and 10,000 jobs over 15 years, according to company projections.

Live! Casino & Hotel Virginia

The first phase of development will be Live! Casino & Hotel Virginia. In its first 15 years, Cordish expects the facility will generate $3.6 billion in economic stimulus to the region, $675 million in gaming tax revenues, including $214 million to the city, $350 million in economic spend during construction, $220 million in annual economic benefits each year after opening, and more than 4,000 new construction and permanent jobs.

The resort will feature more than 670,000 square feet of gaming, hotel, dining and entertainment space. The proposal includes an upscale 200-room hotel featuring 20 suites and a resort pool and fitness center. The gaming space would include more than 2,000 slot machines and electronic table games, 60 dealer table games including poker, and a sportsbook. An event center would hold entertainment, meetings, conventions, and social gatherings.

There are more than a dozen dining and entertainment options planned, plus free surface parking.

At the moment, wagering on sports in the state is exclusively on mobile or other online devices at VA sports betting apps.

Virginia Developer Promises 4,000 Jobs

Cordish says Live! Casino & Hotel Virginia will create more than 4,000 new jobs, including 2,500 new construction jobs and 1,500 new permanent jobs averaging $60,000 in compensation with benefits.

The new casino and hotel resort will also purchase tens of millions of dollars in goods and services in the region.

The resort will be developed, owned, and managed by PPE Casino Resorts Petersburg, LLC, an affiliate of The Cordish Companies.

The company made it clear that authorization of a casino in Petersburg is subject to legislative approval by the Virginia General Assembly, the governor, and Virginia Lottery.

Current Virginia Casino Landscape

Petersburg would be the fifth city in Virginia to host a casino. The fifth casino was originally planned in Richmond, but a voter referendum in 2021 rejected the idea of a casino in the city. That casino would have been developed by Urban One, a Maryland-based media company geared toward Black America and the African-American community.

Hard Rock Bristol was the first to open a “temporary” casino in July. The full permanent casino will open in May 2024.

Rivers Casino Portsmouth will be the second retail casino to open in Virginia on Jan. 15.

Construction continues on casinos in Danville and Norfolk.

Currently, Virginia online casinos have not been legalized as part of the gambling expansion.

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Contributors

Keith Stein is a Virginia-based writer for BetVirginia.com who covers sports betting and casinos.

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