The Pamunkey Indian Tribe has aspired to establish a casino in the City of Norfolk for a long time. It presented its first HeadWaters Resort and Casino project plan to the City Council but it was rejected. The indigenous tribe didn't give up and recently modified the project’s plan to increase its chances of getting approved.
What Does the New Plan Entail?
The Native Tribe is determined to kick off the project soon. But, the City Council has to approve the proposed site’s plan first before the City of Norfolk sells it. It is located near Harbor Park and the Elizabeth River.
An Architectural Review Board meeting will take place on January 8 to consider the Pamunkey Tribe’s plans. None of the documents that the City Council received specifies the project’s cost or deadline. Instead, the Native Tribe plans to launch the gaming property in 2025.
Casino representatives disclosed that various sections like the hotel and spa will be constructed simultaneously. The developers intend to spend $500,000 million on the resort.
Jay Smith, HeadAwaters’s spokesman stated that It will include a fitness venue and spa, a 300-room hotel, and 65,000 square feet of gaming space. He added that they will begin developing it next spring to meet their November 2025 launching target.
The developers will start building the gaming venue from north to south. But, the hotel’s construction will begin in 2026 as one construction phase.
The Native Tribe wants to install 2,000 slot machines and 50 table games. But, it might release certain machines and tables early. Smith said that the casino might have half of its games on the launching day.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe and Golden Eagle Consulting II collaborated to review and adjust the initial project plan which proposed a two-phase approach that would develop gaming components and the permanent resort in two phases. Also, it didn't specify the project’s benefits and provide subtle construction details.
The Casino’s Launch
It is uncertain whether the Norfolk officials will support the new casino plan since it is a single proposal that requires a phased opening. The mayor of Norfolk, Kenny Alexander stated that he hasn't received the recently submitted plans. However, the city might approve them if they offer what is in the initial agreement and what voters allowed in the 2020 ballot.
The new plan doesn't need direct waterfront work as it is near the Elizabeth River Trail. Smith stated that reducing the project’s footprint was necessary as the city officials and HeadWaters were deliberating on a seawall project impact. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is developing the project along the waterfront.
The initial agreement that the city and casino developers made required the city to sell almost 14 acres for the gaming project. Still, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe would have to purchase it by January 2025.