RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A project billed by developers as the only Black-owned casino in the United State is the last one standing in Richmond’s race to construct a casino.
The Urban One ONE Casino and Resort received formal recommendation by a mayor-appointed evaluation committee Thursday, prompting Mayor Levar Stoney to publicly back the $600 million proposal.
In a tweet, Stoney called the panel’s recommendation “the best opportunity for Richmond.” The project is proposed for where the former Philip Morris operations site sits off of Walmsley Boulevard, near Interstate 95.
The city indicated the recommendation came after mulling location, potential economic development growth, community benefits and other criteria the panel considered.
A representative for the project tells 8News Urban One entered an “option to purchase” agreement with Philip Morris to construct the casino, resort and hotel.
Philip Morris did not respond to a previous request for comment on the potential sale of land to Urban One.
Stoney is expected to present this casino evaluation panel’s recommendation to city council on Monday.
8News Political Analyst Rich Meagher says the body has several options ahead.
“Council could conceivably block it, they could send it back to the mayor and say ‘come up with a different proposal.’ They could ask for amendments to the proposal, they could just sit on it forever and just not send it. It seems very unlikely that any of those things will happen,” Meagher said.
The terms of the city’s pending deal with Urban ONE Casino + Resort remains unknown.
The city says a public meeting will be held Tuesday, and may further detail why the ONE Casino + Resort proposal was chosen.
If council approves the proposal, the project will be on the November ballot for city voters to consider.
The Cordish Companies, who lost a bid to build the LIVE! Resort and Casino proposal in the city’s Scott’s Addition neighborhood said they “respect” the evaluation panel’s decision.