Bally’s Corporation’s effort to expand into Virginia’s fledgling casino market was defeated after the Richmond Casino Resort Evaluation Panel announced Wednesday that it has removed the group’s proposal from the Rhode Island-based candidate list. .
The race now is between The Cordish Companies of Baltimore and a partnership between the black-owned Washington media company Urban One and Colonial Downs.
Bally’s proposal called for the development of a $ 650 million hotel and casino complex on the site of Chippenham Parkway and Powhite Parkway. The property would have included a casino with slot machines, table games and a sports betting house, a hotel, restaurants and points of sale and space for shows, among other facilities.
Earlier this month, dozens of Richmond residents living in the Stratford Hills area of the city, not far from the proposed site for the casino complex, came out to voice their opposition to the project. They raised concerns of various kinds, including noise, traffic and environmental issues.
One protester argued that the land on which the gambling venue would have been built had been home to a community of freed slaves and that it likely included the cemetery where community members had buried family members.
Bally’s responded to these claims by saying that it reviewed the cemetery deed for a property located north of the proposed casino site and that there were no valid sources that indicate graves at that site.
Assessment Panel cites concerns about site access and environmental impact
The Resort Casino Evaluation Panel said Wednesday that it was no longer considering the project submitted by Bally’s, citing concerns about “site access, environmental factors, and required approvals entities outside the city that may not be awarded or extend the project schedule. ”
The panel’s decision to reject Bally’s proposal marked the last of several phases in the selection process for a preferred casino developer. In the previous phase, the City of Richmond eliminated at the end of March three of the six proposals it had received from the interested operators.
In the next phase, the Evaluation Panel will announce its recommended developer, preferred location, and important terms of the agreement between the city and the approved candidate.
Commenting on the recent rejection of their proposal, Bally’s Chairman and CEO George Papanier said they were “Disappointed and surprised” because they saw themselves as “the best operator to partner with the City in this effort and provide the largest financial package with the greatest economic benefit to RVA (Richmond, Virginia) residents and business owners.”
Mr. Papnier also noted that if Richmond officials reconsidered their decision, the company “would be delighted to re-engage.”
The Cordish Companies has proposed a $ 600 million plan for a Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond property on the north side of town, not far from The Diamond ballpark. The complex will feature a 300-room, 30-suite hotel, a 250,000-square-foot casino and a 4,000-seat entertainment venue.
Urban One and Colonial Downs plan to build a complex $ 517 million ONE Casino + Resort on 100 acres of land on the south side of Richmond. The property will include a 150-room hotel, a 90,000-square-foot casino with a gambling hall, 12 restaurants and bars, a 3,000-seat theater and more.
Fountain: Bally’s Rejects Richmond Casino Proposal List, WTVR CBS 6 News, Richmond, April 21, 2021