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Casino developers gamble on Scott’s Addition: 'We are the best choice'

Developer: 'We believe 100 percent that we are the best choice for Richmond'
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Posted at 4:40 PM, Apr 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-07 17:58:25-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond’s booming neighborhood could see a flashy new neighbor move next door, as long as the voters agree.

Scott’s Addition Boulevard Association (SABA) hosted The Cordish Company during a virtual meeting on Wednesday morning. The developers pitched one of three proposals vying for Richmond’s opportunity to plant a casino somewhere in the city.

Live Casino & Hotel Richmond was described as a world class entertainment resort including a 300-room, four diamond, upscale hotel and convention center.

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Richmond's booming Scott's Addition neighbrohood is one of the potential sites for a casino in Richmond.

“We believe 100% that we are the best choice for Richmond,” said Cordish developer, Rob Norton. “We are not building an island. We are building a project that we hope will be a catalyst for creating energy into the Scott’s Addition area.”

SABA President Trevor Dickerson revealed the results of an informal online survey of 608 residents, business owners and community members. 77% opposed the project.

One of the chief concerns expressed during the virtual meeting centered on the potential traffic that would follow the massive project.

Dickerson said Scott’s Addition is already experiencing growing pains absent of a new casino that, if approved, would replace Bowtie Cinemas at Arthur Ashe Boulevard and West Leigh Street.

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Richmond's booming Scott's Addition neighbrohood is one of the potential sites for a casino in Richmond.

“It’s not in our interest to create those environments. Our customers want the easy, seamless experience,” stated Norton.

Joe Weinberg, a Cordish partner, said there would be road widening and other infrastructure improvements made if the casino was approved.

“100% of the infrastructure will be coming from us. That was one of the conditions from the city as part of the RFP [request for proposal],” Weinberg explained.

SABA has not taken a position on the proposal.

The city will host two virtual meetings on Thursday and Friday to discuss the public comments regarding the proposals:

  • Bally’s Corporation which hopes to build at Chippenham Parkway and Powhite Parkway in South Richmond
  • ONE Resort & Casino which hopes to build at Walmsley Boulevard and Interstate 95 in South Richmond
  • Cordish Companies which hopes to build at 1301 N. Arthur Ashe Boulevard in North Richmond
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Richmond's booming Scott's Addition neighbrohood is one of the potential sites for a casino in Richmond.

Tuesday, some Stratford Hills neighbors protested the proposed Bally’s Casino. The 61-acre project would sit at Powhite and Chippenham Parkways.

“We don't need to become these other metropolitan cities because we are exactly who we are and where we are supposed to be,” argued resident Rebecca D'Angelo. “A casino isn't going to change that. My prayer is we vote no. I understand that those who vote yes are probably looking at jobs, but let's find new ways to do that.”

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Richmond's booming Scott's Addition neighbrohood is one of the potential sites for a casino in Richmond.

Cordish developer Zed Smith said he met with leadership in Gilpin and Mosby Courts about future job opportunities. Each job would pay at least $15 an hour, and they’ll focus on some of the city’s underprivileged neighborhoods for recruitment.

“Our number strategy within those communities is resource hiring,” Smith said. “We want to be able to bring the training the opportunities for employment to those communities, doing all of our job training and outreach in those communities to make sure they have an opportunity to get hired.”

Legislation adopted by the Virginia General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam earlier in the year authorized the city to host a casino gaming establishment.

Richmond residents will be able to vote on a referendum in November whether to accept the city’s choice.

The proposals from Wind Creek Hospitality, Golden Nugget and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe & Reservation did not advance due to concerns about site control, lack of organizational experience and financial projections, according to city officials.

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Richmond's booming Scott's Addition neighbrohood is one of the potential sites for a casino in Richmond.