Dozens of Richmonders Protest Cordish Cos Casino Proposal

A group of Scott’s Addition residents in the Virginia City of Richmond on Monday walked out to protest the proposed development of a casino resort in the area.

Dozens of protesters stood along North Arthur Ashe Boulevard and West Leigh Street, the planned location of the casino, with signs in their hands and cow bells during the morning traffic rush to show their opposition to the mega-million scheme.

The Cordish Companies of Baltimore is the developer behind the project. The company has proposed to build a $600 million hotel and casino resort in the heart of the city’s Scott’s Addition District. The property will have an easy access to I-64 and I-95.

The complex will spread over 1.9 million square feet and will feature a casino with 2,000 slot machines and electronic table games, 120 live action table games, and a sportsbook, a 300-room luxury hotel with a resort pool, spa and wellness center, an event center that will be able to host entertainment meetings, social gatherings, and conventions, a festival lawn for community events and outdoor entertainment, and 18 dining and entertainment outlets.

The area where Live! Casino & Hotel Richmond is planned to be built is already designated and zoned by city officials as part of the wider Richmond 300 Master Plan.

Casino Will Be A Huge Mistake

Protesters on Monday expressed concerns that the major development scheme would take money out of the city and would hurt small businesses in the area, including local restaurants and breweries. They further noted that the gambling venue could cause traffic issues as an establishment of this kind is designed to attract huge crowds of people, especially on weekends.

One resident of the district called the scheme a “huge, huge mistake” that would negatively impact local businesses that have worked hard for years to make their homes in the district.

Another resident told local news outlets that nine out of the 18 neighborhoods in the area have voiced their opposition to the project.

Richmond residents will have the final say on whether they want their city to host a casino. They will be able to express their opinion on Election Day this coming November in a citywide referendum.

The Cordish Companies’ project is one of two that are still considered by city officials, with a $517 million scheme promoted by Urban One and Colonial Downs being the other. News emerged last week that Bally’s Corporation’s $650 million plan was nixed by city leaders. Three other proposals were disqualified back in March.

The Cordish Companies says that its resort, if eventually built, would generate $5.3 billion in economic impact for the city over the first decade and would create 8,000 construction and permanent jobs.

It should also be noted that this is not the first time Richmond residents protest a casino plan. Earlier this month, dozens of Richmonders walked out to challenge Bally’s proposal.

Source: ‘No casino’ rally brings dozens of Richmond residents together: ‘We’re going to fight this all the way’, 6 News Richmond, April 26, 2021

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