NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The renderings are spectacular, but the question is, will it actually happen?
The HeadWaters Resort & Casino would be a $500 million project that could be a juggernaut for Norfolk and Hampton Roads.
The developers for Norfolk’s proposed casino have again submitted a preliminary site plan to the city of Norfolk.
The development comes after the city balked at the developers’ phased submittal approach for the project over the summer. The developers, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe and Tennessee billionaire Jon Yarbrough’s LLC, say the project will still be built in phases, but this new plan submitted Oct. 20 is for the overall layout for the project.
The developers still need to submit an actual site plan. Developers say they plan to file it prior to Dec. 11, which would allow the plan to go before the Norfolk Architectural Review Board in January, and before Norfolk City Council in February.
“The first phase will include the casino floor, parking, as well as one of the restaurants, and some back of house operations,” said Jay Smith, a spokesperson for the Headwaters Resort & Casino.
The site plan also includes details for Phase 2, which will be built after the construction of Phase 1.
“In Phase 2, we will be adding the tower hotel and additional restaurants and other restaurant amenities,” Smith said.
Other parts of the preliminary site plan include roadway improvements, utility connections and site elevation.
The final site plan will be delivered in December.
“Which would put us on the calendar to get into the Architectural Review Board, and the Planning Commission in January, and then move onto the Norfolk City Council in February,” Smith said.
That first phase was to be completed this year, but extensive delays, confusion, and disagreements have pushed the first phase completion to 2025. There’s still no word on the expected opening of the casino, which is still expected to go next to Harbor Park. The casino was approved back in 2020 by Norfolk voters via referendum.
It has been frustrating for State Legislator Del. Barry Knight, who is helping make this resort and casino a reality. He told our Brett Hall,
“We have had four referendums approved, there is a casino up and going in Danville, Bristol, and Portsmouth,” Knight told 10 On Your Side’s Brett Hall. “My question is, why is there not one in Norfolk?”
Said Smith: “Discussion of flood walls, the trail that runs through there, we are right next to the ballpark, the Amtrack station, the Elizabeth River … with excellent views.”
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe and its development team are expecting this resort and casino to be a positive for economic development and bring good times.
“That is going to help business in the area, the Tides games, the museums, all the things Norfolk will have to offer,” Smith said, “and in turn everyone will benefit from additional tourism from people coming to Virginia because of this resort and casino.”