Cordish Reveals Plans for $1.4bn Virginia Casino Resort

  • Petersburg City Council voted unanimously to choose Cordish as its preferred casino company
  • The Virginia General Assembly must still approve casino gambling
  • Cordish was chosen due to its track record of developing and operating casinos in other cities
  • A battle is ongoing between the cities of Petersburg and Richmond to get their own casino resorts
People looking over plans
The Cordish Companies has revealed its plans to develop a $1.4bn casino in the Virginia city of Petersburg. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Certain contingencies in place

The Cordish Companies has revealed its plans to create a $1.4bn casino resort in the Virginia city of Petersburg. The Petersburg City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday night to choose Cordish as the company to develop a casino resort in the area. It would be a three-phase project and span an 80-acre site in the economically struggling region.

General Assembly has to give the city the green light to offer casino gambling

City Manager John March Altman did caution that it still isn’t a done deal despite the vote. Contingencies are in place relating to the agreement, including big one: the Virginia General Assembly has to give the city the green light to offer casino gambling. Cordish has also said that the project will be dependent on the nearby city of Richmond not getting a casino.

Selection process and initial plans

Cordish made a presentation at the City Council meeting, outlining its plans for the prospective casino project. Cordish chief operating officer Zed Smith believes that it is a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” for the city. The city’s relationship with Cordish dates back about two months when a closed meeting led to the approval of a resolution to explore a potential partnership with the Baltimore-based casino company to create a destination casino resort.

preferable partner due to its track record of constructing and operating casinos in cities

The council got The Speller Consulting Group to look at prospective casino operator partnerships and the proposed casino site. The consultancy group considered five different casino companies in total. Cordish is the preferable partner due to its track record of constructing and operating casinos in cities like Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh.

As part of Cordish’s plans for Petersburg, the initial phase of the project would see the development of a 230,000 square-foot casino and a 200-room hotel. The construction process would require about two years. Work could begin as soon as the state approves Petersburg for casino gaming. A vote would also need to take place in November among the Petersburg public to get the final green light.

A battle between Richmond and Petersburg

Cordish had been in the running to develop a casino resort in nearby Richmond last year. The people of Richmond ultimately voted against allowing a casino to go ahead in the city. City officials were looking to try again and hold another vote last month, but the state blocked the move. Instead, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission studied the feasibility of a Petersburg casino resort.

The study was completed and released in October, stating that both Petersburg and Richmond could support casinos at the same time. The study estimated that a Petersburg casino could generate $204m in gaming revenue in 2028, as well as create approximately 1,300 jobs. The revenue and job projections would drop if Richmond is also able to proceed with a casino project. Officials in Petersburg are battling against Richmond getting a second bite of the apple.