PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The City of Petersburg is one step closer to a casino after the city council chose a company to carry the project forward.

Tuesday night, the Petersburg City Council met for several hours. There, members unanimously chose the Cordish Companies as a partner to help move the project forward.

According to Mayor Samuel Parham, a consultant had been talking to various companies and casinos and has been vetting proposals since January.

“We’re excited to have a partner. For so long, the city of Petersburg had missed out on many opportunities,” Parham said. “We’re just happy to have a company that says that they believe in Petersburg.”

Mayor Parham wants a large-scale development to create a destination whether a casino is included or not.

“We look forward to developing our city because we have a tremendous amount of land for this amount of opportunity. Just having companies that have the bandwidth to deliver on that is exciting,” Parham said.

Zed Smith, Chief Operating Officer of The Cordish Companies

“The Cordish Companies is honored and excited to have been selected by the City of Petersburg as development partners on this transformative project.”

Zed Smith, Chief Operating Officer of The Cordish Companies

Parham said this would also be a great economic development opportunity for residents who desperately need a place to stay, as the Ramada Inn is scheduled to be torn down.

Heather Mcgarrity is a Petersburg resident. Mcgarrity said she was not opposed to the idea. However, she would like to see city leaders focus on the homeless community. Mcgarrity was concerned about where the proceeds of the project would go.

After Richmond voters voted “no” on a potential casino, interest began to peak in Petersburg.

The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission released a study on Monday. That study declared that both Richmond and Petersburg meet the criteria for a casino. However, Senator Joe Morrissey said Petersburg needs the project more and that the projects would ‘cannibalize each other.’

8News asked Parham if he had any concerns if the Richmond project moves forward.

“We’re just focusing on how Petersburg can create the premier product here in the Commonwealth,” Parham said.

So far there is no contract with the Cordish Companies. The developer is expected to make a full report to city leaders on Tuesday, Oct. 25. A potential location could be announced.

The public will be able to weigh in at a later meeting.