With the exact details of a casino development contract still up to Richmond City Council authorization, the city is exploring delaying an originally planned project completion to 1st Oct2024.
Richmond authorities said delaying the limit by 9 months will allow broadcast conglomerate Urban One more time to wait for the Virginia Lottery to validate its plans and award a license for the casino development if it is authorized by local residents in a ballot on 2nd NOV.
At the suggestion of Mayor Levar Stoney and a team of municipal officials, the City Council voted 8-1 last month to conduct a referendum on the casino development. Initially, federal officials estimated that the casino would open by 31 December 2023 but have lately proposed to reschedule in return for an extra $1 million on top of the $25 million upfront payment that Urban One has given the city if the casino initiative succeeds.
The new rules, however, do not compel Urban One to build its planned 250-room, 12-story luxury hotel until 1st October 2025, 1 year after the casino.
The city, like the previous terms evaluated by the council in May, is encouraging the project’s early completion by helping the users to give the city 1.875 percent of its annual gambling-related income for one year, rather than the 3 percent the organization intends to assign yearly, if the project is finished before 1st October 2024.
A representative for Urban One, Mark Hubbard, stated that the firm requires freedom since the Virginia Lottery has up to 12 months to approve the license application. After considering six bids, the city chose the Urban One casino resort development in May. The new casino is expected to produce $30 million in yearly tax income for the city, according to officials.’
Richmond sought the ideas under Virginia’s new casino legislation, which permits Richmond and 4 other cities — Norfolk, Danvlle, Bristol, and Portsmouth — to authorize casinos if local voters accept.
Metro One, in collaboration with Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums and Colonial Downs racetrack owner Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, intends to build a roughly $600 million casino facility near the junction of Commerce Road and Walmsley Boulevard on land held by Philip Morris USA.
The proposal, according to city authorities, would be a windfall to Richmond since it would generate 1,300 employment and perhaps encourage auxiliary construction in an area of the city where locals believe a supermarket, other businessesDanvilleharmacies are needed. On-site radio and television broadcast studios are also planned. Over the following ten years, the proposed conditions contain $16 million in payouts to local NGOs and government entities.
The new settlement also includes the following conditions:
- a “compensation package” of $55,000 per year for casino resort staff;
- A 40% engagement objective for local and minority-owned firms in the facility’s operation and development.
- The city will receive $25 million in free publicity for public programs.
- $200,000 per year for problem gambling prevention; and
- The city may be reimbursed up to $500,000 for consultancy expenses incurred throughout the assessment process.
Councilwoman Reva Trammell, who serves the neighborhood where the casinos would be situated and has been favorable of the proposal, expressed concern about the prospective expansion and expressed concern that it may be a precursor to further difficulties.
“Is it going to happen? My district’s always been let down. I pray that people vote for it and it passes, but how long is it going to take?” said Councilwoman Reva Trammell
The eighth District delegate expressed disappointment at last week’s meeting held because the proposed conditions do not include explicit clauses assigning employment or funds to her region. However, some executives and council members have stated that they may still opt to transfer new tax money from the development to Trammell’s district and other sections of South Richmond.
While City One executives say they are sure of the development, a document submitted with the Securities and Exchange Commission the previous month for its intentions to sell $200 million in ordinary shares to help fund the project exposes some of the dangers. When the Local Government meets on 26th July, they will decide on the project’s planned parameters.