Norfolk Casino takes more time to finalize resort plans

Norfolk Casino HeadWaters Resort Delay Caused by Seawall Plans

Posted on: January 23, 2024, 02:25h.

Last updated on: January 23, 2024, 02:25h.

The long-delayed Norfolk casino project faced another setback as the casino was not presented at the city’s Architectural Review Board (ARB) meeting as expected. The delay comes as the Pamunkey Indian Tribe and their project partner, billionaire Jon Yarbrough, address the concerns raised by local government officials. These concerns relate to the plans for the HeadWaters Resort & Casino’s construction.

Norfolk casino HeadWaters Pamunkey Tribe
Project plans for the Norfolk Coastal Storm Risk Management Project show where a floodwall will be constructed. The seawall butts against the proposed casino site of the HeadWaters Resort & Casino project. (Image: US Army Corps of Engineers)

In December, a new rendering of the casino moved the resort slightly inland to adapt to the city’s $2.6 billion Coastal Storm Risk Management Project, which includes a seawall near the casino site. The $500 million concept now comprises a 300-room hotel, a 65,000-square-foot casino with 1,000 slot machines, 25 table games, a sportsbook, and 18,000 square feet of event space. Resort amenities include restaurants, bars, a spa, and a 1,200-space parking garage.

Design Setbacks and Construction Demands

The project has faced several hitches and is yet to break ground despite receiving voter approval in 2020. The latest design snag was caused by the city’s Coastal Storm Risk Management Project, which includes a seawall near the proposed casino site.

The seawall and stormwater project forced developers to abandon initial plans of including a marina for boaters to dock and visit the resort, ballpark, and nearby businesses. This led to a relocation of the resort and added new elements to the design plan.

City officials are demanding that the resort be constructed in one phase. They rejected the developers’ suggestion of building the casino first and the hotel later. This demand comes after local legislators approved the city’s casino proposal in a 2020 referendum.

The project still needs several approvals before significant action can begin, leaving the November 2025 deadline for the casino opening quickly approaching.

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