The City of Richmond’s Resort Casino Evaluation Panel announced Thursday that it would recommend Urban One’s ONE Casino + Resort to move forward as its preferred casino gaming operator. The city panel eliminated a proposal from the Cordish Cos.
“ONE Casino + Resort presents a tremendous opportunity to develop a resort casino project in Richmond,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said in a news release posted on the city’s website. “The project will create over 1,000 good paying jobs, generate a significant amount of new revenue for the city, and establish an additional economic engine in South Richmond. I applaud the work of the evaluation panel in their vetting of the proposals and engaging the entire city throughout this project.”
Stoney will introduce the ONE Casino + Resort proposal to city council on May 24, the release said. The council will be asked to petition the court so a referendum on casino gaming in the City of Richmond can be on the ballot in November.
The city will host a public meeting about the project on May 25.
The evaluation panel said it made its recommendation based on factors including the project’s “feasibility and sustainability, proposed location, economic development impact, financial revenue impact and community benefits.”
More About Urban One
A Black-owned media conglomerate, Urban One is partnering with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment, the parent company of Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums and Colonial Downs Group, and Live Nation for the proposed ONE Casino at 2001 Walmsley Blvd.
The $517 million project would be the only Black-owned casino resort in the country. It is planned to have 150 hotel rooms, 90,000 square feet of gaming space, 12 bars and restaurants, a 3,000-seat theater and 50-plus acres of green space.
“ONE is thrilled the Richmond casino selection committee has chosen the best project with the best location and best team to develop a world-class entertainment destination in Richmond’s Southside,” Alfred Liggins, CEO of Urban One, said in the release. “Urban One and our diverse group of local investors are fully committed to creating good paying jobs with profit-sharing for employees, pathways to successful careers, and generating significant new tax revenues that can improve Richmond’s schools and fund community programs and infrastructure.”
Cordish Cos. had proposed the Live! Casino and Hotel Richmond at 1301 N. Arthur Ashe Blvd. The project would have cost about $600 million and included a 300-room hotel, 4,000-capacity entertainment venue, and 18 bars and restaurants. Cordish has developed Live! sites in Maryland and Pennsylvania, and Hard Rock locations in Tampa and Hollywood, Florida.
From 6 Proposals to 1
Six proposals were submitted to the city for consideration. The number of proposals was reduced to three at the end of March. Cut from the list were proposals by Golden Nugget, Wind Creek and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe.
That left bids from Bally’s, Urban One and Cordish Cos. Bally’s $650 million proposed resort, which would have been located at Parkway Crossings, was eliminated in late April.
The timeline by the city when the process began was to have one casino proposal selected by June to go on a referendum before voters in November.
The General Assembly passed legislation in 2020 to allow for casino construction in five Virginia cities.
Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth passed referendums in November 2020, and the proposed casino operators are working on submitting applications to the Virginia Lottery Board for final approval.