Local business leaders have explained that Hard Rock will be joining as an equity partner in a bid to boost the local economy.
Hard Rock Still Focused on Bristol Casino Project
Hard Rock International has announced its decision to become an equity partner in the upcoming $400 million Hard Rock Bristol Resort and Casino project, which will take over the Bristol Mall.
In a recent interview with the Bristol Herald Courier, Jim McGlothlin and Clyde Stacy, prominent casino developers, have discussed both the Hard Rock initiative as well as the tribal project developed under the Cherokee brand for The Pinnacle and specifically in the Virginia’s part of the project.
The pair commented on the upcoming project calling it a ‘good fit for Bristol,’ and elaborating that they wouldn’t claim full ownership of the project. McGlothlin and Stacy also enthused about the many things they plan to introduce through the project, ‘things that Hard Rock already does.’
Bristol’s Hard Rock Casino Project in Numbers
The project will be placed in the former Belk space and will sprawl on some 100,000 sq ft, and possibly more. Along with the casino, the project will have 600 hotel rooms as well as a parking lot located at the backside of the former mall building.
McGlothlin has reassured that the project already had all the plans drawn and all that was needed was to remodel and rebuild the facility, turning the future project into a go-to place for gamers as well as sports bettors.
The developers also expect at least 5,000 people to be able to attend the property when it opens and all throughout the year. To stimulate local business, the Hard Rock Bristol project will also feature around 50 retail stores, restaurants and of course, meeting spaces.
Furthermore, their project should employee at least 2,000 people, half of whom will be employed exclusively in the casino. The project will hopefully start pulling people in Bristol out of poverty as some 45% of the residents in the city live under the federal poverty line.
Did JLARC Miss the Mark?
In a recent study conducted by the Virginia Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission it has been argued that the casinos stand to benefit from some $135 million in terms of gaming revenue, translating into $35 million in tax revenue for the state.
However, according to McGlothlin, these numbers are largely underestimated, and the real numbers are closer to $500 million and $600 million in terms of annual revenue.
Business Displeased with Cherokee Indians Own Casino Plans
The Cherokee Indians are also planning on a casino project at The Pinnacle, already threatening a rather narrow market. Yet, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians lawyer Greg Habee has said that the tribe isn’t interested in ‘trading tit-for-tat’ with anyone.
Rather, the Cherokee would focus on a project that is in the best interest of the local economy. Furthermore, Habee noted that the tribe was expecting a licensing process that would again reflect the best possible outcome for the community.