he Pamunkey Indian Tribe released new renderings of its planned casino resort alongside Norfolk’s Harbor Park. The new images include a lower-slung glass-and-metal structure with a rooftop pool offering a view of Norfolk Tides games, attached to an eight-story hotel and a marina on the banks of the Elizabeth River reports the Virginian Pilot.
The facility is set to be a $500 million resort and casino with a 300-plus room hotel and attached parking deck for about 2,000 cars. The initial phase of the construction is expected to be completed in 2023, and will include a spa, sports bar and grill, steakhouse, rooftop event space and multi-purpose event center.
Robert Gray, chief of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, said: “I’m confident that this project will exceed the expectations of everyone. We are living up to every promise we made and are determined to make this a project of which Norfolk can be proud”.
In 2015, the Pamukey where federally recognized and they became the only tribe with the ability to open casinos on tribal land in Virginia, a state where they were still illegal.
At the end of 2018, the tribe and Tennessee billionaire Jon Yarborugh announced they were seeking to build a casino on the banks of the Elizabeth River in Norfolk. At the time, renderings of a $700 million casino were released. However the rise of potential competition caused the expected size of the Pamunkey’s tribe casino to shrink, making the option to also build one in Richmond possible.
The announcement of the building of their new facility caused a whirlwind in the General Assembly, therefore state lawmakers were forced to reconsider the state’s casino ban. Over time, legislators worked out a deal to license casinos in five Virginia cities: Bristol, Danville, Richmond, Portsmouth and Norfolk.
Last November, Norfolk voters approved the casino, despite the fact that there were two sepatate petition drives seeking to beat back the agreement with the city. Voters in Bristol, Danville and Portsmouth also approved casinos. The issue is scheduled to be on the ballot in Richmond this fall.