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Richmond panel selects ONE Casino + Resort project to be on November ballot

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 6:32 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The City of Richmond is now betting on a single casino project to move forward. Thursday, an advisory panel announced ONE Casino + Resort could bring the massive development to south Richmond.

“It seems unreal right now,” said Shane Roberts-Thomas, Southern Kitchen Restaurant.

Roberts-Thomas has a dream to open a new restaurant as part of the project. She was speechless when she found out about the selection.

“I’m grateful that south side community and that part of town will get some love and be able to flourish and grow,” said Roberts-Thomas.

Urban One, Inc. is behind the $517 million proposal. The 300,000 square foot facility is slated to be built just off Interstate 95 on the city’s southside.

“I think the committee and the mayor got the decision right. I believe a half-billion-dollar investment on the south side is the right thing to do. This has the opportunity to change the trajectory of south side and south side neighborhoods,” said Mike Jones, Richmond City Councilor.

Touted as the nation’s only black-owned casino, the project offers up to 150 hotel rooms along with a dozen bars and restaurants and plenty of gaming space. It also has the backing of Mayor Levar Stoney who also promised a public meeting about the decision next Tuesday with city councilors.

“ONE is thrilled the Richmond casino selection committee has chosen the best project with the best location and best team to develop a world-class entertainment destination in Richmond’s Southside. The committee listened to residents and voters who said, “We want ONE”. We are fully committed to creating good paying jobs with profit-sharing for employees, pathways to successful careers, and generating significant new tax revenues that can improve Richmond’s schools and fund community programs and infrastructure. We will also be true community partners, investing with non-profits and worthwhile causes across the city. Along with our partner Peninsula Pacific Entertainment we look forward to sharing all of this good news with Richmond voters in the months ahead in advance of the November referendum,” said Alfred Liggins, Urban One Chief Executive Officer. “As the CEO of Urban One, and with the founder and chairperson of the company, Cathy Hughes, we say thank-you to the city of Richmond and its residents for placing your trust in us and our diverse group of local investors. We look forward to working with you to create something exciting and unprecedented with green space open to all, a terrific new music venue, some of Richmond’s best restaurants and lots of fun and entertainment for the River City.”

It’s something Chef Shane agrees on.

“Times have changed and this is an amazing time for African Americans, it’s an amazing time for diversity,” said Roberts-Thomas.

The project is expected to also create about a thousand jobs. You can also expect a major campaign blitz for the project heading into November.

The Cordish Companies released the following statement regarding the decision:

“We appreciated the opportunity to share with City leaders our long track record of building and operating the most successful casino entertainment resorts in the country,” said Zed Smith, COO of The Cordish Companies. “In light of our unparalleled experience and expertise as urban development and gaming resort specialists, we are disappointed that the Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond proposal was not selected. While we believe our site clearly would have brought the largest long-term economic benefit to the City and its residents, as evidenced by the City’s own independent, outside consultant, we respect the Evaluation Committee’s decision. Our engagement with residents and businesses across the City has been incredibly rewarding. We are thankful and grateful for the many new friendships and connections within the community that we have gained from this experience. We wish the City the best of luck as it moves forward with this project.”

A public meeting on the decision will be on May 25 at 6 p.m. For more information on the project, click here.

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