The city of Danville, Virginia, has secured a major development project from Caesars as it received overwhelming support in a referendum held alongside the Presidential election, the results of which are still being disputed. The City Council formalized its intentions to move forward with the project on Monday when it certified the results of the vote, Virginia’s WSLS 10 reports.
The complex will include a casino and resort on the site of the former Dan River Mills Schoolfield complex. It will feature a hotel with at least 300 rooms, a spa, fitness center, pool as well as a 35,000-square foot conference center and a 2,500-seat entertainment hall. The casino will include various gaming devices, poker tables, table games and a sportsbook.
City Council already at Work to Push Project Forward
According to Caesars strategist Tony Rodio, the groundbreaking ceremony will take place toward the end of 2020 or in early 2021 and the project should be completed by the fall of 2023. Administrative work has already begun as city staff expected a positive outcome of the referendum and wanted to get a head start, City Manager Ken Larking said.
The City Council approved the project back in September but needed the blessing of Danville’s citizens. Mayor Alonzo Jones commented that he was glad the decision was left to the people so there would be no suspicions about backroom deals. “We’re really proud that we were able to after all the hard work, put it back in the hands of the citizens and the citizens have voted and stated that they want a casino here in Danville,” Jones said.
Caesars to Pour Millions into Local Economy
Under the project, Caesars will pay $15 million to the city upfront and a committee is already at work trying to figure out how to spend the money. The total investment will amount to $400 million, ABC 13 News reports.
The development will create 900 construction-related jobs until completion and once the resort opens, it will provide more than 1,300 full-time equivalent positions paying an average of $50,000 a year. Under the development agreement, the casino chain will pay Danville a percentage of gaming fees amounting to no less than $5 million a year. The resort is also expected to give a boost to local tourism. Caesars has pledged to engage heavily with the local community and small businesses and will incorporate its “Caesars Rewards” program in the city.
Mayor Jones made a point to reassure those who voted against the project that their concerns will be taken into account. “And I think once the citizens see more of that, I think those that voted no will feel a little bit more reassured in regards to, basically what I think is one of the biggest things is a crime,” Jones said.