Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to note that the city formally announced the six contenders for the casino RFP. It’s the same six that had already been reported, but the city did provide some additional detail.
The field of casino contenders in Richmond is formally set at six.
The city on Friday confirmed that the previously reported six applicants are all that responded to the RFP for a resort casino development within city limits.
Here’s the list of the six respondents and their proposals:
Bally’s Corp.: A $650 million project to rise on 61 wooded acres at the northeast intersection of Powhite and Chippenham parkways.
Cordish Cos.: A $600 million resort casino project atop the 17-acre Movieland cinema complex off Arthur Ashe Boulevard.
Golden Nugget Hotels & Casinos: A $400 million casino development on 61 wooded acres at the intersection of Powhite and Chippenham parkways, the same site Bally’s Corp. is pitching.
Pamunkey Indian Tribe: A $350 million casino resort on the city’s Southside at 5000 and 5030 Commerce Road.
Urban One and Peninsula Pacific Entertainment: A $517 million resort casino at 2001 Walmsley Blvd. on land currently owned by Philip Morris.
Wind Creek Hospitality: A $541 million casino development at 1220 and 1260 Ingram Ave., a roughly 47-acre industrial site toward the southern end of Manchester.
Golden Nugget and Wind Creek were the final two to publicly confirm last week that they had responded to the RFP, with the other four coming earlier in the week.
Golden Nugget is a Texas-based firm owned by Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, while Wind Creek is the entertainment arm of the Poarch Band of Creek Indians tribe.
In an announcement Friday, Mayor Levar Stoney touted the number of respondents as a sign that Richmond remains an attractive place for investment. The city issued the RFP in late December after a public survey asking citizens what factors should be considered when fielding proposals for a resort casino. The RFP deadline was Feb. 22.
Also of note in the city’s announcement was the confirmation that Golden Nugget and Bally’s are vying for the same Southside site at the intersection of Powhite and Chippenham parkways. It’s unclear exactly how that competition might play out.
Golden Nugget, which currently has five casinos spread across Nevada, New Jersey, Mississippi and Louisiana, is proposing a 950,000-square-foot “Golden Nugget Richmond Hotel & Casino” that would include a 93,000-square-foot casino floor, a 177-room hotel, a concert venue, a pool area with cabanas, along with retail and restaurant space.
Bally’s, a publicly traded firm out of Rhode Island that operates 11 casinos nationwide, would build a casino with over 90 table games and 30 poker tables, a 250-room hotel as well as an event venue, spa, dining options and rooftop bar, all spanning 1.6 million square feet.
The next step in the city’s process is a virtual community meeting on the matter on March 9. At the meeting, Convergence Strategy Group, a Louisiana-based consultant hired by the city’s Economic Development Authority, will present its analysis of the prospective casino market in Richmond.
The city and consultant would then select the best bid and begin negotiations with that respondent, a expected to be finalized in June. City residents would then go to the polls to decide whether to grant a casino license to the selected operator during a referendum on Nov. 2, 2021.
All the respondents are touting minority outreach and ownership in their proposals.
Golden Nugget, for example, said a local Black and Hispanic-owned company has a 5 percent stake in the firm and that it is seeking additional minority partners to take an additional 5 percent stake. Cordish said that it has “substantial minority investment” in its company, Urban One is a Black-owned business and said it has over 50 local diverse investors in its project, and the Pamunkey Tribe said it believes it’s the only applicant that has 100 percent minority ownership and is entirely based in Virginia.
Wind Creek’s proposal includes the largest number of hotel rooms with two planned 252-room towers. Its plan also includes a 100,000-square-foot casino area, a venue and room for seven restaurants. Wind Creek said in its announcement that its project would be built in two phases.
Wind Creek currently operates three casinos in Alabama, where the Poarch Band of Creek Indians’ ancestral land traces back to 800 A.D. The tribe’s land also included much of present-day Georgia.
Four former tobacco warehouses currently stand on the land on Ingram Avenue that Wind Creek is eyeing for its casino. The land is owned by an entity tied to local development firm Harper Associates, per city property records.