HeadWaters Casino Makes Progress After A Season Of Change

Written By Marian Rosin on October 7, 2022 - Last Updated on August 1, 2023
HeadWaters Casino

Norfork developers still have a home run plan — even if initial plans for a temporary casino left the city’s ballpark over the summer. The Pamunkey Tribe’s HeadWaters Resort & Casino is moving forward again.

The Virginia casino project involves building both a temporary and a permanent site near Harbor Park Stadium. So, fans can place bets near the home of the AAA Norfolk Tides.

Once it’s done, the casino will bring thousands of employees to the riverfront. The process begins with architects and construction crews. It continues with staff for the casino and resort as well as employees for food, drink and shopping options at the HeadWaters complex.

Keep an eye out for the help wanted signs. HeadWaters spokesperson Jay Smith told PlayVirginia HeadWaters will host job fairs and workforce training when opening day gets a little closer.

Altogether, the Pamunkey Tribe estimates the casino will bring tens of millions of dollars in annual tax revenue and almost a billion dollars in economic impact to the area.

Temporary casino had to move

In July of this year, the Tribe announced it would scrap its original plan to place the temporary gaming facility inside Harbor Park Stadium. That initial plan was expected to provide a win-win:

  • The Pamunkey Tribe would begin earning revenue from bets at the temporary casino.
  • And, the interior renovations would spruce up an underused part of the stadium.

But Norfolk’s casino permission includes very specific language. The casino’s voter-approved address did not match the Harbor Park address, so the Tribe decided to move the temporary casino location to the east of the ballpark.

Under the adjusted plan, the future Virginia casino will sit on a portion of the property designated for the permanent Headwaters Resort & Casino.

Smith, the project spokesperson, said the move lets the Tribe increase the size of its operations. The city and schools in Norfolk will also benefit from increased tax revenue.

The Tribe gave the city a site plan for the temporary casino on Aug. 19, but developers haven’t broken ground yet. Smith also said the temporary casino will be torn down once the permanent casino is finished.

HeadWaters Casino plans earned support

Norfolk voters approved casino gambling by a 2-to-1 vote in November 2020. Then, on May 4, 2021, the Pamunkey Tribe gave “Norfolk Casino,” its official name of “HeadWaters Resort & Casino.”

The Tribe is currently working with the city on the permanent site plan and land conveyance, which will allow them to start construction.

“The Tribe is excited and ready to start building,” Smith says.

The HeadWaters Resort & Casino is a $500 million project. The Tribe does not have a groundbreaking date for the permanent casino either. Construction on the permanent venue should take about 18-24 months.

The community wins, too

Foods and floods will be a charitable focus, according to a member of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe Gaming Authority.

Norfolk resident Keving Krigsvold told city council members about donations to 10 local food pantries. Two years of donations added up to 327,181 meals.

“This is part of the Tribe’s ongoing efforts to address food insecurity and to ensure that no person in the city of Norfolk goes hungry again.”

Also, the Pamunkey Tribe construction plans keep nature in mind. The casino operators will contribute to Norfolk’s flood resilience project along the Elizabeth River. They will be the first private developer to do this.

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