After nearly a year of waiting, the casino to be built in Norfolk, Virginia will be named HeadWaters Resort & Casino. After the go-ahead from a ballot measure, the city will finally be home to one of the most exquisite casinos in the state. To make the casino a reality, the city has partnered with billionaire Jon Yarbrough and the Native American Tribe, the Pamunkey Indians.
The expansion of commercial gambling in Virginia was authorized for five cities that have been struggling economically last year. It was put to a vote first and the ballot referendum was successful ensuring that locals had their say as well. The development is reported to be worth half a billion USD and will be located next to the Harbor Park baseball stadium. The land that will be used for the casino is 13.4 acres and was acquired from the city of Norfolk for 10 million USD. The tribe with funding from Yarbrough are the parties that made this possible.
According to the tribe the name, HeadWaters, represents the start of a river, which is a fitting name for a facility in this location. The name also speaks to the importance of rivers and the role it has played in the history of the city and the tribe. The city is located where three rivers meet, the Elizabeth, Nansemond and James rivers. Which makes Norfolk a waterfront city and will soon have a casino with a name that reflects what the city and the tribe embodies.
In April, renderings of the casino were revealed by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, before the casino even had a name. The plans revealed that the resort will host over 300 hotel rooms with full views of the Elizabeth River. Additionally, other amenities on the property will include an infinity pool, sports bar and grill, a rooftop bar, spa, multipurpose event centre, a steakhouse and outdoor space. A parking garage will also be attached that will easily accommodate about 2,000 vehicles and patrons travelling via Amtrak will also have easy access to the casino and resort.
The tribe is also planning to add a marina where potential guests arriving in their boats will be allowed to dock and enjoy all that the casino and resort have to offer. The details and plans for what the casino space will look like at HeadWaters have not been revealed as yet. While the number of gaming tables and slot machines have not been revealed, the tribe has spoken about the construction and inclusion of a sportsbook lounge. The overall development is expected to yield as many, if not more than, 2,000 jobs during construction and once it is completed, will accommodate for nearly 2,500 permanent jobs at the casino and resort.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe has not had any experience with operating a casino as yet but has made sure that they are prepared for what’s to come. Earlier this year, in March, the tribe announced that it had hired its executive VP of gaming and resort operations for Norfolk. The tribe hired Rodney Ferguson, who has previously served as the CEO of the Potawatomi Casino in Wisconsin, to guide them through the process and hopefully their continued success.
With the announcement of the name, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe has also committed itself to set aside 20 million USD to be used for shoreline resiliency issues. Additionally, funds will be set aside for trail construction, connectivity and rehabilitation for the Elizabeth River. The press release said that the aim is to develop an exciting, vibrant and sustainable shoreline that will improve and preserve the environment along the Elizabeth River. The tribe also wants to provide a new and exciting natural area for guests and locals to enjoy.
Planning and finances are all taken care of and the construction of the casino and resort will get underway once the casino license application has been approved by the Virginia Lottery. The only outlook, for now, is that the Pamunkey Indian Tribe and other stakeholders expect to have HeadWaters Casino & Resort up and running by 2023.