In a bid to secure approval for the eagerly anticipated Richmond Grand Resort & Casino project, developers have unveiled a comprehensive plan that promises to bring over 1,300 jobs to the city.
The proposed $562 million resort and casino complex, previously known as ONE Casino + Resort, is gearing up for a crucial referendum vote this November. In an informational meeting on Monday, September 18, plans for the project were shared with the local community.
While the project retains many features from its 2021 iteration, such as a 250-room hotel, a 3,000-seat concert venue, and a $26.5 million upfront payment to the city government, the focus this time around is firmly on job creation. With an estimated 1,300 permanent positions on offer, boasting an average salary of $55,000, the project aims to bolster Richmond's economy significantly.
One of the key figures behind the project, Alfred Liggins, CEO of Urban One, emphasized that they have learned from past campaigns. "It's no secret that we didn't make a winning case in 2021," he acknowledged, referring to their primarily billboard-driven campaign. "We should have been talking to more people, as opposed to advertising to more people," Liggins added.
Over the past year, the development team has engaged in hundreds of conversations with Richmonders to better understand their concerns and aspirations. This time, the strategy is about fostering two-way communication with the community.
The proposed casino will be situated on 100 acres in South Richmond, near Interstate 95, on land owned by Altria Group. Beyond job creation, the project also promises to transform industrial property into a 55-acre park and offers locally owned businesses, including restaurants, an opportunity to become part of the resort.
In a significant move, the project has rebranded itself as the "Richmond Grand Resort & Casino," aiming to enhance its connection to the city and its residents. The campaign, managed by local elections director Tierra Ward, is already underway, and the support of local union members and Richmond City Council members has been secured.
William Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs, emphasized his company's excitement about the project, expressing confidence in their ability to secure approval. If the referendum passes in November, the casino will join Churchill Downs' expanding portfolio in Virginia, which includes Colonial Downs in New Kent County and six Rosie's Gaming Emporiums across the state.
As the campaign gathers momentum, it remains to be seen whether Richmond residents will endorse the Richmond Grand Resort & Casino project, with its promise of job creation and economic growth. The referendum vote this fall will undoubtedly be closely watched, not just by casino enthusiasts but by all those invested in the city's future.
In a time when job opportunities and economic development are paramount, the Richmond Grand Resort & Casino may hold the key to an improvement in Richmond's economy.