RICHMOND, Va. -- After narrowing down six proposals, Richmond's Resort Casino Evaluation Panel is going all in with their recommendation for ONE Casino + Resort to potentially break ground in the city.
The $600 million proposed gaming and entertainment destination would be located on Walmsley Boulevard in South Richmond. It would historically be the first black-owned casino in the country.
The panel said they made its recommendation based on multiple factors including the project’s feasibility and sustainability, proposed location, economic development impact, financial revenue impact and community benefits.
The panel's decision to move forward with ONE Casino + Resort's proposal is supported by Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, according to a press release.
“ONE Casino + Resort presents a tremendous opportunity to develop a resort casino project in Richmond,” said Stoney. “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.”
Now, Stoney will introduce ONE's proposal project to the Richmond City Council on May 24. The city will host a public meeting on the decision on May 25 at 6 p.m.
Per legislation approved by the Virginia General Assembly, City Council will be asked to petition the court so that a referendum on casino gaming in the City of Richmond can take place during the Nov. 2 election.
Urban One, Inc., behind ONE Casino + Resort, released the following statement about the panel's decision:
“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. The committee listened to residents and voters who said, “We want ONE”. We 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. We will also be true community partners, investing with non-profits and worthwhile causes across the city. Along with our partner Peninsula Pacific Entertainment we look forward to sharing all of this good news with Richmond voters in the months ahead in advance of the November referendum. As the CEO of Urban One, and with the founder and chairperson of the company, Cathy Hughes, we say thank-you to the city of Richmond and its residents for placing your trust in us and our diverse group of local investors. We look forward to working with you to create something exciting and unprecedented with green space open to all, a terrific new music venue, some of Richmond’s best restaurants and lots of fun and entertainment for the River City.”
-Alfred Liggins, Urban One Chief Executive Officer
ONE's proposal for the first casino in Richmond includes 100,000-square-feet of gaming space, a 250-room luxury hotel, a theater for live shows and performances, 12 eateries and bars, 55 acres of green space and more.
The prospective location is described in the project proposal as "shovel ready" with a low impact on traffic. Additionally, it would not require rezoning and is away from residential neighborhoods.
Urban One, Inc. is a national multimedia powerhouse that has been in Richmond for decades operating KISS-FM, ESPN Richmond, Praise Richmond, iPower and, through a shared services agreement with Summit Media, Classic Rock 96.5, K95 Country, Sports 106.1, Jack FM and 103.7 PLAY.
Their partner, Peninsula Pacific Entertainment (P2E), is a developer and operator of gaming venues across the country who locally owns Colonial Downs Racetrack in New Kent County and Rosie’s Gaming Emporiums at locations all across Virginia -- including in Richmond.
Once built, ONE said they've estimated to generate more than $525 million in new tax revenue and community benefits for the city over the next decade, including committing over $140 million in upfront and recurring additional revenue to the city and $25 million in free advertising across all of Urban One’s media platforms to promote city initiatives.
They also stated they plan to create 1,750 direct jobs with an average annual salary of $55,000 and a commitment to a $15 hourly minimum wage. They're also planning to offer profit sharing to their employees, estimated to be $3,000 – $5,000 annually.