Pamunkey Tribe pays $4M for Manchester property

A rendering of the proposed Southside casino complex. (Courtesy Pamunkey Indian Tribe)

The Pamunkey Indian Tribe continues to reclaim what was once theirs.

Last week an entity tied to the tribe purchased 12.4 acres at 1120 Gordon Ave. in Manchester for $4 million, city property records show.

A Pamunkey spokesman confirmed the deal. The seller was an entity tied to local development firm RJ Smith Cos.

The deal comes about six months after the Pamunkey announced their plans to build a $350 million casino and hotel in Manchester.

The spokesman said that this deal is on land that could be a location for a casino and resort, but emphasized they remain flexible in deciding a location.

The property includes over 270,000 square feet of warehouse space split across about a dozen buildings, and most recently was assessed by the city at $4.9 million. Colliers International’s David Wilkins repped the tribe in the deal.

The Pamunkey’s roots date back to 8,000 B.C. and its territory included much of what’s now the Richmond and Tidewater regions.

The Gordon Avenue property was one of three parcels in Manchester the Pamunkey has had under contract or with an option to buy. The other two parcels are located nearby at 1401 Commerce Road and 1260 Ingram Ave., and those deals are still in the works.

In recent years the Pamunkey have been acquiring land throughout the state, including 600 acres in New Kent, and in Norfolk, where it’s planning another casino.

Under new state legislation, the Pamunkey can pursue commercial gaming in Norfolk and Richmond if the localities pass a referendum that supports it. Norfolk is looking at holding its gaming referendum this November, while Richmond is likely to hold one in November 2021.

If the referendum plan falls through, the Pamunkey have another avenue to take toward building casinos by using their federal recognition to apply to the U.S. Department of the Interior to place the land in a trust, establishing the tribe’s reservation and making it a sovereign nation. The tribe has stated that if this avenue is taken, it plans to enter revenue-sharing agreements with nearby localities.

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