The Norfolk Architectural Review Board (NARB) is considering the Pamunkey Indian Tribe’s proposal for construction of the HeadWaters Resort & Casino on a site next to the Norfolk Harbor Park Stadium.
For the proposed 90,000-square-foot gambling-friendly facility, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe has been planning since 2020 when the city was designated as a qualifying host location for a commercial casino resort. For approval of the $500 million undertaking, the tribe petitioned the NARB on Monday this week.
In 2020, Virginia approved a gaming bill to allow economically distressed cities to apply for a commercial casino development. One of the criteria was that a city must have experienced a decline of at least of 20 per cent in population between 1990 to 2016. Local referendum in favour of the casino development was also required. Virginia successfully qualified for the project.
Located nearly 60 miles northwest of Norfolk in King William County along the Pamunkey River, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe is one of seven tribal nations with federal recognition in the Old Dominion State.
If the Pamunkey’s proposal gains the board’s approval, the HeadWaters Resort & Casino would be built in two phases. The first phase of the project would be consisted of a 90,000 sq. ft. complex with a 45,000 sq. ft. casino, a 5,000 sq. ft. lobby, a 4,500 sq. ft. sports bar, and a parking facility capable of accommodating up to 1,200 vehicles. The first phase is expected to cost the tribe approx. $100 million.
The proposal also states that the second phase of the project would include the resort and numerous amenities. A 300-room state-of-the-art hotel would be overlooking the Elizabeth River, while multiple restaurants in addition to a spa, a rooftop pool, an entertainment space will be there to meet guests’ various requirements.
The tribe states, “Situated on approximately 14 acres of land adjacent to the Harbor Park baseball stadium, the Project will be a powerful engine of economic growth and a catalyst for future development in downtown Norfolk. The Project will also advance important local, regional, and state goals for coastal resiliency and sustainability.” While some members of the NARB raised some concerns with respect to the casino project, none of them was serious enough to likely result in a negative vote for the project. The board members have two weeks to vote on the proposed casino project.