Nation | Tribe: Pamunkey Indian Tribe
Elizabeth River at Harbor Park
HeadWaters Resort & Casino in Norfolk, Virginia will be a $500 million casino hotel built on the Elizabeth River next to Harbor Park. Construction will start in the summer of 2022 and finish in the summer or fall of 2024. The casino will feature 3,000 slot machines and 150 table games, and the hotel will offer 300 guest rooms and suites.
Rendering of the HeadWaters Resort & Casino released April 21, 2021 by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe. See more renderings
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe signed a development agreement with the City of Norfolk in January 2020 to build a $500M casino and hotel on 13.4 acres of city land along the Elizabeth River and next to Harbor Park for the purpose of building a $500 casino and hotel.
The Norfolk casino was approved by voters in the election November 3, 2020.
The Norfolk plans include a casino with 3,000 slot machines and 150 table games, a hotel with 300 rooms, a spa and a rootop pool, multiple restaurants including a steakhouse, an event center and a rooftop entertainment area.
The expected opening date for the HeadWaters Resort & Casino will be in 2024.
NOTE: Details of the Norfolk casino project are limited to the following information. Further updates are pending.
3,000 slot machines
150 table games
Website Link (Future)
April 21, 2021
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe released new artist renderings showing what the HeadWaters Resort & Casino will look like when it opens in 2024.
Aerial view of HeadWaters Resort & Casino alongside Harbor Park.
The ferry landing to the HeadWaters Resort & Casino.
The rooftop pool at the HeadWaters Resort & Casino.
Harbor view of HeadWaters Resort & Casino and Harbor Park.
Riverfront view of HeadWaters Resort & Casino
These new renderings for the HeadWaters Resort & Casino in Norfolk, Virginia were released to the public on March 4, 2022 by the City.
Headwaters Resort Casino Front Entrance
Headwaters Resort Casino Lobby
Headwaters Resort Casino Hotel Room
Headwaters Resort Casino Center Bar
May 3, 2022
Construction has not yet started on the HeadWaters Resort & Casino in Norfolk, VA. There are two reasons for this: The Virginia Lottery Board has yet to issue a casino license for the project, and secondly, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are each studying the building site to issue developers permits approve construction.
A formal groundbreaking for the HeadWaters Resort & Casino is expected sometime this summer city officials. Full construction is expected to begin soon afterwards. Construction will take up to 24 months to complete. A temporary casino is expected to open in 2022 and operate to the end of the construction period.
Virginia Casino Licensing Begins
In April the Virginia Lottery Board granted the first casino license to Hard Rock Bristol. The board continues to review the applications for Norfolk, along with Danville and Portsmouth, and the next casino license(s) are expected to be announced soon.
Norfolk Casino Taxes will Rebuild Schools
In April Norfolk City officials announced a major plan rebuild five city schools over ten years using tax revenue from the new HeadWaters Resort & Casino.
Lawsuit Over Norfolk Casino Rights is Dismissed
In April a Richmond judge dismissed a lawsuit filed against the City of Norfolk for awarding the Norfolk casino rights to the Pamunkey Indian Tribe. The suit was brought by Cordish Companies, which claimed the company had first rights to a Norfolk casino per a 2013 contract with the City.
April 2, 2022
The Pamunkey Tribe is asking the Norfolk City Council for permission to operate a temporary casino at Harbor Park during the two-year construction of the HeadWaters Resort and Casino.
Harbor Park is Triple-A baseball stadium located adjacent to the future site of the Headwaters casino project, and has been closed since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The stadium contains the Norfolk Boxing Center and the Hits at the Park restaurant.
The Pamunkey Tribe would like to use both the boxing center and the restaurant to operate a temporary slots casino on the right side of the stadium.
The Norfolk City Planning Commission is scheduled to take up the Pamunkey's request in its April 28 meeting
March 6, 2022
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe is seeking a location for a temporary casino to operate during the construction of the HeadWaters Resort & Casino next door to Harbor Park in Norfolk, Virginia. State legislation authorizes a temporary operating license if the location is in the "footprint where the casino will be located."
Two possible locations inside the baseball park are under consideration, and each would meet the criteria. One candidate is the Norfolk Boxing + Fitness Center and the other is the Hits at the Park Restaurant. Both are on the first base side of the park.
Norfolk Boxing + Fitness Center
This facility has been closed since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. The owners insist on finding a new location before making the property available to the casino.
Hits at the Park Restaurant
This restaurant is only open during the Norfolk Tides games.
The temporary casino for the HeadWaters Resort & Casino would feature limited gaming, a restaurant and a lounge.
February 26, 2022
Construction is expected to begin this summer on the HeadWaters Resort & Casino in Norfolk, Virginia. Last September the Pamunkey Tribe signed two construction companies to build the $500 million casino resort. This week the construction companies hosted a contractor and outreach event to find local contractors for the project.
After the ground breaking this summer, construction of the HeadWaters Resort & Casino will take two years.
September 16, 2021
The Pamunkey Tribe has signed a pair of construction companies to build the tribe's HeadWaters Resort & Casino in Norfolk, Virginia. W.M. Jordan is a regional company from Newport News and Suffolk is a national company recognized for premier hotels.
The groundbreaking for the HeadWaters Resort & Casino project will come in the next few months. Construction will be completed in 2024.
The tribe requires the two construction companies, Jordan and Suffolk, to hire a large percentage of local and Black-owned subcontractors and suppliers as a condition of their contracts.
Pamunkey Chief Robert Gray said "Just as important as their commitment to quality work, they are equally committed to providing opportunities for small and minority-owned subcontractors and suppliers to play a significant role in this project."
April 27, 2021
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe issued a major update to its HeadWaters Resort & Casino plans this week. New artist renderings of the design were released along with updates on facilities and the timeframe.
November 6, 2020
On Tuesday the voters in Norfolk approved a plan by the Pamunkey Indian Tribe to build a $500M resort & casino on the Elizabeth River waterfront near Harbor Park. The project includes a casino, an entertainment venue, restaurants, and a 300-room hotel with spa and pool.
Chief of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe, Robert Gray, expressed the gratitude of his tribe:
"We are moved beyond words by the tremendous display of support we've received from the Norfolk community. To everyone who advocated on our behalf, shared our message with their friends and neighbors, put up a yard sign, wore a sticker or simply voted YES, we cannot thank you enough. We look forward to working with you to make Norfolk even stronger for decades to come."
The next steps will be finalizing a casino license and securing the neccessary building permits. The groundbreaking is expected in the spring of 2021, and construction is expected to be completed by late 2022 or early 2023.
October 21, 2020
Pamunkey Tribe announces architecture hires for Norfolk casino - Courtesy of , Oct 16, 2020. Available from YouTube
Last week the Pamunkey Tribe announced the hiring of a two-company development team for their proposed HeadWaters Resort & Casino. HKS Architects is an international design company known for AT&T Stadium in Dallas and the MGM National Harbor Casino. Baskervill is a Richmond-based company that provides construction, engineering and design.
Pamunkey Chief Robert Gray issued this statement:
"These two companies bring the creativity, industry expertise, experience and drive to ensure that this facility will exceed the highest expectations set by the Tribe and the City of Norfolk for this project."
October 20, 2020
As the Nov. 3 election nears the Pamunkey Indian Tribe is making a final push for voter approval to build a casino near Harbor Park. The casino is supported by the Yes Norfolk Committee and a handful of state officials. The casino is opposed by the Norfolk Referendum Committee.
September 7, 2020
The "All In Norfolk" campaign to gather voter support for the HeadWaters Resort & Casino is officially underway. The Norfolk casino requires voter approval in the Nov. 3, 2020 election to authorize construction planned for a 13.4-acre site east of the Harbor Park baseball stadium.
The measure is supported by Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander, Virginia Delegate Jay Jones, Norfolk City Council, "All In for Norfolk Casino Committee" and the "Yes Norfolk PAC". The Pamunkey Tribe has contributed over $210,000 to the last two group to promote advertising campaigns for voter support.
If approved by voters, the Pamunkey will construct a casino hotel complex with 3,000 slot machines, 150 table games, restaurants, an entertainment venue and a 300-room hotel with spa.
January 16, 2020
Video courtesy of 13 ABC NEWS NOW
The Pamunkey Tribe and the City of Norfolk signed two agreements Monday that advance the tribe's plan to build a $700 million casino on the Elizabeth River.
The first agreement was an option for the Pamunkey Tribe to buy 13.4 acres of city property next to Harbor Park for $750,000 per acre ($10+ million total). The option is subject to the state approval of a casino license for the site. The option expires after three years but can be extended twice for one year.
The second agreement was a development agreement to regulate the construction and use of the property in compliance with state and local building codes.
September 27, 2019
The Norfolk City Council held a public hearing Tuesday before voting 7-1 to approve a land sale and intergovernmental agreement with the Pamunkey Indian Tribe. The agreement is a major step forward for the Tribe's plan to build a $700 million riverfront casino and hotel in Norfolk.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe is proposing to build a casino with 3,500 to 4,500 slot machines and up to 225 table games, a 750-seat entertainment venue, 3-5 restaurants, a hotel and spa, and a waterfront promenade.
The sale agreement for 13 acres of city-owned land to the Pamunkey Tribe is contingent upon the tribe getting final casino approval from either the state for a commercial casino or the federal govenment for an Indian gaming casino.
TERMS OF THE DEAL
1. Land Purchase
The City of Norfolk will sell 13.25 acres of land to the Pamunkey Tribe on a five-year option to buy. The Tribe will pay $100,000 per year for the option and $10 million to purchase the land if their casino application is successful. The current market value is $750,000 per acre.
2. Revenue Sharing Agreement
If the casino is approved under the U,S, Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, The Tribe will pay 4% of gambling revenues to the City of Norfolk. If the casino is licensed under Virginia law, the Tribe will be taxed per state law.
The timeframe for opening a casino in Norfolk is likely 3-4 years away. The Virginia General Assembly is considering legislation that will mandate voter approval in five cities with proposed casinos. If passed in the next legislative session, these casino referendums would appear on the November 2021 ballot. If passed by the voters, construction of a commercial casino in Norfolk would start soon afterwards, and completion would be in 2022-2023.
If the Pamunkey Indian Tribe does not pursue a federally-approved tribal casino, the voter process would be bypassed. However, the federal process is lengthy and the timeframe is similar.
December 19, 2018
The Pamunkey Tribe has announced negotiations with the City of Norfolk to purchase 20 acres of riverfront property owned by the city for the purpose of building a $700 million casino and hotel. The site is near the Amtrak Station and Harbor Park stadium.
In March 2018, two years after the Pamunkey Indians were recognized by the federal government, the tribe announced plans to build a casino with hotel and spa somewhere in Eastern Virginia.
A month later the Pamunkeys announced the purchase of 610 acres in New Kent County as a potential building site for their casino project. The location is east of Richmond at the Exit 205 interchange on I-64. The tribe also said at the time it had not committed to build there and would continue to seek other opportunities including land in Richmond and its vicinity.
When the final decision is made about the casino location, the Pamunkeys will petition the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs to take that land into federal trust as part of their reservation land.
January 29, 2019
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe is proposing to build a $750 casino and hotel along the Elizabeth River in the City of Norfolk. Last night the city council cast a unanimous vote to support the project.
The Norfolk City Council passed a resolution asking the General Assembly to proceed with legislation that would lead to state-licensing of the Pamunkey casino as an alternative to the lengthy federal Indian gaming process.
The General Assembly is woking on a bill to authorize and regulate casino gambling. It will require an election referendum on the November ballot for Norfolk residents to agree or reject the Pamunkey casino.
April 21, 2018
A possible resort casino could be developed in New Kent County. The Pamunkey Indian Tribe purchased over 600 acres of land. The property is being considered for the casino project.
However, this is not the only potential location. Other areas in central and eastern Virginia are being considered.
Plans were previously announced for the tribe's desire to develop a casino resort. Acquiring land is one of the main tasks that the tribe has undertaken in order to make progress on their casino plans.
Located off of Interstate 64 and the Bottoms Bridge-Quinton exit, the property makes up four parcels. An LLC bought the land for $3.05 million according to tax records from the county. The mailing address matches the same as a video game operator with a state approved license, named B&B Amusement of Illinois. The company operates over 60 venues.
The tribe wants to build a gaming facility with a hotel, entertainment venue, and spa. The estimated cost to complete the project will be $700 million.
Full time positions would be available for 4,000 people. Payroll would equal around $200 million. The state could earn an estimated $1 billion from gaming revenue taxes.
Both the state and the local community where the project would be built would benefit in the revenue sharing.
The tribe would also like to be able to provide rural Virginia with broadband. They also would like to fund housing for seniors.
Middle Peninsula Planning District Council may also be involved. Joining with the council may allow for the project to qualify for federal grants. That could be used to help create jobs and improve infrastructure.
March 16, 2018
Plans for a proposed Pamunkey Indian Tribe owned casino have been announced. If approved it will be built in the eastern section of Virginia and 4,000 full time jobs would be created. It would cost an estimated $700 million.
There would be casino games. There will also be a hotel, spa, and entertainment.
Construction would create between 3,000 and 5,000 jobs.
Annual payroll would equal $200 million. Companies that supply support services and other indirect companies could have a $1 billion impact for the state.
The casino will not be located on the tribe's King William County reservation.
They are interested in a partnership with a community to build their project. The site for the proposed casino to be developed is still being determined. Property being considered must be able to accommodate a large number of visitors. As well as access to utilities like water and sewer. Until these things are settled, a timeline for construction can not be announced.
The community that is selected for the proposed casino would enter into an agreement that would allow for sharing the casino revenues. The state would also receive a portion.
An investment group is currently in negotiations with the tribe to help develop the project. Details on the investment company have not been released.
Financing for the project also needs to be secured.
The National Indian Gaming Commission would oversee the casino's gaming operations. One of the purposed for the commission is to ensure that the games are ran fairly. It also monitors the agreements made between the tribe and the casino management company.
Dependent on current state laws, the casino could be allowed to operate slot machines and table games. However, the choice of games must be approved by the commission and the negotiated on for the gaming compact.
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