NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Plans have been scrapped to turn part of Harbor Park into a temporary casino following an address “issue” that could have possibly opened up the city to a lawsuit.

Instead, the planned HeadWaters Resort & Casino announced plans this week to build a temporary casino facility from the ground up on the parking lot of its future permanent facility with an estimated opening date of Spring 2023.

“The plan to locate the initial casino in the parking lot to the east of the ballpark is a win for the City and will result in an even better customer experience at the new Pamunkey Casino,” Jay Smith, spokesperson for the project, said in a release sent earlier this week.

But the developers also let it be known that they would have preferred moving forward with their initial plan.

The federally-recognized Pamunkey Indian Tribe, in partnership with Tennessee billionaire Jon Yarbrough, has a development agreement with Norfolk to build a $500-million resort casino on more than 13 acres between Harbor Park and the Norfolk Southern Railroad line on the banks of the Elizabeth River.

The project was approved through a voter referendum in November 2020.

In March, the city first announced it was in talks with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe to open up a site with “limited gaming” in the spaces formally occupied by the Norfolk Boxing + Fitness Center and the Hits at the Park Restaurant. Both were on the first base side of the city-owned baseball park on the first and second floors.

The state law allowing for casino gaming allows the Pamunkey Indian Tribe the option to apply for a temporary operating permit, as long as the temporary operation is in the “footprint where the casino will be located.”

“The Tribe and the City of Norfolk had explored locating the temporary facility in an underutilized area of Harbor Park because it provided a unique win-win opportunity to upgrade a City-owned, aging facility that would also benefit the community and the fans at no taxpayer expense while generating immediate revenue for the City,” Smith said in the release.

However, what voters approved in 2020, specifically called for gaming “east” of Harbor Park at 200 Park Avenue. Not in Harbor Park at 150 Park Avenue.

While 10 On Your Side could not find any outspoken opposition to the initial plans to place the temporary facility in Harbor Park, City Attorney Bernard Pishko confirmed the Cordish Companies is appealing a judge’s decision to toss out its lawsuit over the Pamunkey proposal. Cordish, as operators of Waterside District, have contended they had the right to develop a casino in the city first.

“While the Tribe does not believe the ballpark address to be an issue since it was approved by the City, any delay due to a potential challenge is unacceptable,” Smith said.

The change will already provide delay enough. The facility at Harbor Park was estimated to open sometime this year. The revised timeline puts Norfolk’s temporary facility opening after Portsmouth’s Rivers Casino is predicted to open its permanent facility.

Plans for the new gaming facility will be provided to the City in the next few weeks.