The Pamunkey Indian Tribe and its casino development team delayed presenting their latest plans for a long-proposed Norfolk casino until later this month.
The Tribe and the developer were scheduled to present the latest replication of HeadWaters Resort and Casino plans to the Architectural Review Board (ARB) on Jan. 8. Monday’s meeting was the first of several steps before the Tribe could begin construction.
However, the developers behind the Virginia casino asked for more time. According to the ARB’s updated agenda, casino officials will continue the presentation until Jan. 22.
Reasons for delayed presentation unknown
According to a Virginia Pilot article, casino spokesperson Jay Smith issued an emailed statement saying the Tribe and developer had met with City Council members and city staff to talk about a “number of issues concerning the project and site.”
When asked to explain the issues, Smith simply replied he had “no further information.”
The construction timeline still needs to be determined, as the documents submitted to the city don’t include that information.
What is certain, however, is that the Tribe’s gaming operations need to begin by November 2025 before its state authorization expires. To meet that deadline, construction would likely need to start as early as the beginning of 2024.
What does the latest Virginia casino plan show?
The new plans include a 65,000-square-foot casino on the Elizabeth River next to Harbor Park. The casino resort will feature several restaurants and a 12-story hotel with a pool, spa and fitness center.
The latest plans do not include a marina on the river as shown in the casino plan 2018, which had a shiny $700 million, 20-acre tower complex.
Pamunkey’s announcement of plans caused different reactions in the state capital. As a result of that debate, five cities received approval to open casinos in Virginia.
The Tribe had to scale back plans to a $500 million resort casino in Norfolk, which will include:
- 2,000 slot machines
- 50 table games
- The hotel with 300 guest rooms and suites
Norfolk casino plans have changed several times
Norfolk voters approved a ballot referendum in 2020, authorizing the Tribe to build a commercial casino resort. Since then, the city officials have discussed project development several times but without making much progress.
The developer had to change plans for a temporary casino inside Harbor Park in 2022 as they needed to meet the specifications of the 2020 voter referendum.
In mid-2023, the developer came up with new, two-phase plans for a casino resort. Those plans faced opposition from city leaders and were pulled by the developer.
In December 2023, the development team revealed its latest plan, saying gaming would begin in 2025 while the hotel would remain under construction.