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Cordish details new $1.40bn casino plan in Virginia

| By Robert Fletcher
The Cordish Companies and retail estate business Bruce Smith Enterprises have announced plans to develop a new $1.40bn (£1.13bn/€1.32bn) gaming and entertainment facility in Petersburg, Virginia.
Cordish Virginia casino

Located close to Interstate I-95, Cordish said the Live! Casino & Hotel Virginia would create over 7,500 new jobs. Cordish also said it hopes the facility will become a major tourist destination in the Old Dominion state.

Cordish and Bruce Smith Enterprises, led by NFL Hall of Fame member and Virginia native Bruce Smith, submitted the plans in response to a request for proposal from the City of Petersburg. The two companies have been working together since 2008, partnering on a range of other projects.

Key features of the planned venue include over 400,000sq ft of gaming, hotel and dining space. The gaming area will feature 1,600 slot machines, 46 live action tables, poker room, high limit slots area and sportsbook. 

Other planned on-site amenities include a 200-room hotel, 3,000-seat entertainment venue, eight dining options and free surface parking. 

Cordish and Bruce Smith Enterprises intend to open an initial first phase casino within the next year. Phase one will include 1,000 slot machines, 23 table games, dedicated poker room, casino bar and restaurant and some parking.

First-of-its-kind partnership for Cordish

The joint venture, Cordish said, is the first arrangement in the gaming and entertainment industry. It is the first such project to have a minority-owned business enterprise as co-development partner.

The Petersburg ownership team, which makes up 50% minority equity participation, will become the largest minority ownership opportunity in the gaming and hospitality industry in the US. Cordish adds it will become a model for other projects in Virginia and throughout the country. 

This group features a range of prominent minority businesses and individuals. These include former NFL player Billy McMullen and the Reynolds Family, the founding family of Reynolds Metals.

“We are incredibly proud to join Bruce Smith and his team to present our vision for a transformational, world-class destination in Petersburg,” Cordish chief operating officer Zed Smith said. “As our development partner, Bruce shares our core values in investing for the long-term and creating jobs and opportunities for the community.

“We are committed to excellence, creating unforgettable experiences for our guests and treating our team members and communities like family.”

Smith added: “Working as a developer in the state for over 20 years, I’m confident we are the right partners for this undertaking. We share the same vision and understand the needs of the city of Petersburg and its citizens. 

“Together we can do remarkable work in Petersburg that will transform lives, restore hope and ultimately imbue a new energy of revitalisation that will be felt for generations.”

Cordish aiming to grow Live! network

Cordish has worked on a range of land-based casino projects across the US. These include the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood and Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa, both in Florida. 

As for other Live! branded sites, these include Live! Casino & Hotel Maryland and Live! Casino & Hotel Philadelphia. In addition, Cordish is currently constructing the Live! Casino & Hotel Louisiana, due to open in 2025.

The new Petersburg site is subject to a series of conditions. These include approval from the governor and the city of Petersburg, as well as relevant licensing. 

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