GAMBLING

Cordish Unveils Revamped $1.4B Mixed-Use Casino Development

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Posted on: April 15, 2024, 11:33h. 

Last updated on: April 15, 2024, 11:33h.

The Cordish Companies on Monday unveiled details of its revamped pitch for a $1.4 billion mixed-use development featuring an integrated resort casino for Virginia’s Petersburg.

Cordish Petersburg casino Virginia Live!
A rendering of Live! Casino & Hotel Virginia in Petersburg. The Cordish Companies project includes a significant minority ownership component. (Image: The Cordish Companies)

Cordish, the operator of Live! casinos and hospitality districts, first presented Petersburg with a casino proposal in 2022. With the odds improving that the Virginia city will be afforded a gaming license through state legislation and a subsequent local referendum, the Baltimore-based firm has updated and strengthened its pitch.

Cordish reps told Casino.org today that the company has partnered with Virginia native and NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Smith’s real estate development firm, Bruce Smith Enterprise, for a residential and entertainment district anchored by a gaming destination that would be called Live! Casino & Hotel Virginia.

The proposed project, a Cordish statement said, would generate billions of dollars in economic benefits for the state and economically distressed city and employ thousands of people.

Live! Virginia Blueprint

The Live! Casino & Hotel Virginia plan calls for over 400,000 square feet of gaming, hotel, and dining space.

The casino would offer 1,600 slot machines, 46 live dealer table games, a 15-table poker room, and a sportsbook. The resort component would include 200 rooms and suites, a resort pool and fitness center, a 3,000-seat concert venue, and eight restaurants and bars. The resort would employ 1,500 people, with Cordish saying the average $70,000 annual compensation would feature “life-enhancing benefits.”

Cordish is targeting the casino resort at the intersection of Wagner Road and Interstate 95. The company says its partnership with Bruce Smith Enterprise is the first of its kind in the gaming industry to have a minority-owned business as a co-development partner. It’s an honor Smith is most happy to take on.

I’m confident that Bruce Smith Enterprise and The Cordish Companies are the right partners for this undertaking, because we share the same vision and understand the needs of the City of Petersburg and its citizens,” Smith said. “Together, we can do remarkable work in Petersburg that will transform lives, restore hope, and ultimately imbue a new energy of revitalization that will be felt for generations.”

Cordish, if its Petersburg casino is greenlit, would open an “initial phase” of the casino within a year of approval to “begin creating jobs” while the permanent resort is constructed. Casino revenue would also, of course, help Cordish and Smith finance the scheme.

Along with Smith, the 50% minority composition for Live! Virginia would include former Cox Communications executive Gary McCollum, former Philadelphia Eagle and University of Virginia All-American Bill McMullen, and the Reynolds family that owns Reynolds Metals headquartered in Richmond.

Cordish did not immediately provide details on the mixed-use aspects of the $1.4 billion scheme, nor how much of that budget would go towards the resort. Artist renderings, however, show a sprawling complex with what appears to be several apartment and condominium residential buildings surrounded by retail stores and office space.

Path to Ballot

If Virginia lawmakers agree to Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R) proposed changes to the Petersburg casino bill — specifically, removing the reenactment clause — the Petersburg City Council would be cleared to field formal bids for the gaming opportunity. The city recently completed a Request for Proposal (RFP) that garnered responses from a handful of companies.

Along with Cordish, Bally’s Corporation, Penn Entertainment, Rush Street Gaming, and The Warrenton Group expressed interest.

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