Bruce Smith Enterprise, Cordish Cos. Propose $1.4 Billion Mixed-Use Casino Development in Petersburg, Virginia

by Hayden Spiess

Petersburg, Va. — Bruce Smith Enterprise and The Cordish Cos. have responded to a request for proposal issued by the City of Petersburg with plans to co-develop a $1.4 billion mixed-use project. Plans call for a gaming and entertainment district anchored by a Live!-branded casino and hotel.

The project site is located at the intersection of Wagner Road and I-95 in Petersburg, about 24 miles south of Richmond. The partners intend to quickly open an initial Phase I casino within a year to begin creating jobs, vendor opportunities and economic benefits for the city. Plans for this first phase include 1,000 slot machines, 23 table games, a 15-table poker room, casino bar and casual restaurant, and more than 1,500 free parking spots.

Upon full build-out, Live! Casino & Hotel Virginia would feature more than 400,000 square feet of gaming, hotel and dining space; 35,000 square feet of meeting and convention space; a 200-room hotel; 1,600 slot machines; 46 table games; a sportsbook; 3,000-seat entertainment venue; and eight food options.

The project is expected to create 7,500 new jobs, including 6,000 construction jobs and 1,500 living-wage jobs averaging $70,000 in annual compensation, according to the development team.

In its first 10 years, the developers project that Live! Casino & Hotel Virginia would generate $2.8 billion in economic stimulus to the region; $504 million in tax revenues, including $240 million to the City of Petersburg; $802 million in economic benefits during construction; and $201 million in annual economic benefits each year after opening. The specific definition of “economic benefits” was not included.

Live! Casino & Hotel Virginia would be developed, owned and managed by Petersburg Community Development Investors LLC. Authorization of a casino in Petersburg is subject to legislative approval by the Virginia General Assembly and governor, selection by the city of a preferred developer and development site, and licensing by applicable Commonwealth agencies, including the Virginia Lottery.

Bruce Smith Enterprise is led by NFL Hall of Fame member and Virginia native Bruce Smith. The joint venture partnership with Cordish marks the first in the gaming and entertainment industry to have a minority-owned business enterprise as co-development partner, according to a news release.

Cordish develops and operates mixed-use, dining, entertainment and hospitality destinations throughout the United States, many falling under its Live! brand, which welcomes more than 55 million visitors each year.

Virginia Beach-based Bruce Smith Enterprise is a commercial real estate firm that specializes in the development of mixed-use projects. Smith founded the company after retiring from professional football in 2004.

— Kristin Harlow

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