Only six months after city officials revealed their plans to open a casino along the Elizabeth River, a new larger location is considered.
The beginning of the week saw the city’s economic development director recommend that a gambling venue should be established at a site which is situated in close proximity to the Portsmouth’s campus of the Tidewater Community College. According to Mr. Robert D. Moore, who took part in the work session of the City Council, the new location is more superior as it offers direct access off the interstate and 50 acres.
Today, council members are set to vote on the proposal of the 50-acre site as a new location to the casino.
Once, the site was proposed as the home of a planned mixed-use development but years of legal action over the actions of the development company saw Victory Crossing Developers II LLC eventually pull out of the project. In 2018, the piece of land was returned to the Economic Development Authority in a settlement estimated at $5.1 million. The previous project was called The Commons at Portsmouth, but it was more popular under the name Victory Village.
In case that the majority of city council votes with “yes”, the plans for establishing a casino at the former Holiday Inn’s location on the Elizabeth River waterfront area would be canceled.
New Casino Project Could Create up to 4,000 Jobs in the City
At the time when the presentation before the City Council took place on July 22nd, the Economic Development Director Mr. Moore explained that the new location has been identified as a better place to host a casino venue than the waterside site which was once home to the former Holiday Inn.
The plan which was proposed by the developer includes a gaming and entertainment facility situated on 400,000 square feet, featuring a a 3,000-seat performance venue, dining area and meeting space. There will also be a 4-star hotel, 30 restaurants and retail shops, a movie theater and 3,000-space parking garage. According to Moore, who has explained that that the city wants more than just a casino venue, about 4,000 jobs could be created as a result of the project. The city’s Economic Development Director has also estimated that the project would require about $550 million to be invested.
As explained by Mr. Moore to council members, his office would probably come up with a memorandum of understanding with a potential developer within the upcoming 60 days. He, however, refused to say the developer could be. At least two public meetings would take place as part of the process after that.
The beginning of the year saw the Portsmouth city council hold a press conference regarding the site of the former Holiday Inn, revealing plans for a $700-million venue including a casino, a hotel and a conference center. The discussions have come as part of the State Senator Louise Lucas’ efforts to make commercial gambling legal in the city. This year, the city finally pushed a legislative measure under which cities which have been facing economic challenges were allowed to hold referendums regarding the potential addition of casino gambling.
Until then, it was the Pamunkey Indian Nation which had the exclusive right to open a casino in the state of Virginia.