Petersburg City Council made a step forward in sealing the agreement with The Cordish Companies to develop a casino resort worth $1.4 billion over the following 15 years in the city. The presentation provided more detailed information about the project that was described as an opportunity that appears “once in a generation”.
The City Council voted unanimously and backed the application of the aforementioned company to develop the casino resort in the financially struggling city in three phases on a site of about 80 acres in the southeastern part of Petersburg. John March Altman, the city manager, however, noted that the council may be voted in favor of the project but that did not mean that the deal was finalized.
The approval of the casino resort from the Petersburg City Council came with contingencies. The biggest one of them is that the General Assembly’s approval is necessary in order for the planned casino to start operating under state laws.
Furthermore, The Cordish Companies shared that the casino project also depends on blocking the city of Richmond from giving the green light to a proposed casino resort that would be situated less than 25 miles away. That project was rejected by local voters back in 2021. Zed Smith, Chief Operating Officer of the operator, explained that the company was unable with another casino venue in Richmond.
Petersburg Seeks to Prevent Richmond from Building Casino Resort, Too
The Cordish Companies emerged as the preferred applicant for the Petersburg casino project about two months ago, when the City Council approved a resolution to explore the potential partnership with the operator seeking to develop a destination casino resort.
Apart from that, the City Council approved a consulting agreement with The Speller Consulting Group at the time, with the deal being retroactive to July 1st. Under the agreement “a quantifiable process” for the recommendation of the most suitable site to host such a casino and the most appropriate casino operator to run the venue, plus negotiating the terms of the contract, community benefits, as well as other duties. Petersburg agreed to pay the company $5,000 a month under an extension of the one-year consulting agreement that was signed with the Speller Consulting Group in February. At first, the city was supposed to pay $10,000 a month to the company.
Both the agreement and the addendum were provided by the city to a local media hub in late November as a response to a request that had been made under the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act.
After the City Council meeting that took place on December 13th, the consulting group explained that it had taken five potential developers of the casino project into consideration on behalf of the city. As previously reported by CasinoGamesPro, The Cordish Companies had been a finalist in a six-way competition seeking to develop a casino resort in Richmond in 2021. This time, it emerged as the preferred candidate mostly because of its previous experience in developing and operating casino venues in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Kansas City, Pittsburg, Tampa, St. Louis, and Hollywood.
The first phase of the Petersburg casino resort project would include the construction of a 200-room hotel, a 230,000-square-foot casino, as well as dining and retail businesses. It is expected to take about two years to be finalized after it gets all the necessary approvals from city and state authorities.