A new casino resort in Richmond, VA, is a step closer to becoming reality. Plans have been in the works for a year to bring five casinos to the state, with a couple already in the advanced planning stage. Richmond was one of the later cities to make progress, but the final decision on who will be responsible for lifting the city out of its funk has now been made, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. There can be only one and, in this case, it is Urban One.
Richmond Partners With Urban One for Casino
After a proposal submitted by Bally’s Corp. was rejected last month, there were only two candidates remaining, Urban One and Cordish Cos., out of the original six. It had been expected that Urban One would win the final heads-up battle for several reasons. Not only is it a minority-led company, but it also proposed an enticing project that offered a lot of benefits to the city. Before Urban One can start reveling in its win, however, the proposal has to be approved by residents in a public vote to be held this November.
Urban One presented its ONE Casino + Resort project for consideration, offering to build a $600-million resort with all the amenities anyone could want. The property, which would be built near Commerce Road and Walmsley Boulevard in Richmond, would house a casino floor spanning 100,000 square feet, a 250-key hotel, a spa, 15 restaurants and bars, a 55-acre green space, TV and radio production studios and a large event center. It will provide around 1,000 permanent jobs – more during construction – and give Richmond $525 million in tax revenue and additional benefits over the next ten years. In addition, Urban One has promised to pay all of its staff a minimum wage of at least $15 an hour.
Urban One Is Making History
Urban One will be the first minority-owned casino operator in the US since Don Barden and his The Majestic Star Casino company purchased The Fitzgeralds Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas in 2001. Urban One was founded as Radio One by Catherine Liggins Hughes, who still serves as its chair, and the company now has 55 radio stations across the US, as well as a cable TV network, TV One, and a digital subsidiary, Interactive One. If voters approve Urban One’s plan, it would be the first time in the US that a minority-owned company has built a casino from the ground up.
Historically, in many instances, a losing bidder in any deal will try to fight the loss and come up with any excuse to mount a legal challenge. This doesn’t appear to be the case this time, as Cordish is apparently ready to walk away. Company COO Zed Smith issued a statement after the decision was announced, explaining, “While we believe our site clearly would have brought the largest long-term economic benefit to the City and its residents, as evidenced by the City’s own independent, outside consultant, we respect the Evaluation Committee’s decision.”