DANVILLE, Va. – UPDATE
Danville's Schoolfield site may not be much to look at now, but in just a few short years it could be.
Video released by Caesars Entertainment depicts a large parking lot, a row of fountains and of course big, shiny buildings.
“We are particularly excited about the 35,000 square-foot convention center...and the 2,500 seat live entertainment venue and what those amenities will mean for the city of Danville," Caesars Entertainment Jacqueline Grace said.
Grace said this casino, if Danville residents go to the polls this November and vote to allow it to open, will spark growth both in the city and the region.
“We’re not just bringing 1,300 jobs to Danville, we’re bringing 1,300 opportunities for people to grow really meaningful careers," Grace emphasized.
Danville is one of a handful of cities allowed by the state legislature to pursue a casino.
The city is not officially for or against a casino, but at Monday’s announcement Danville Mayor Alonzo Jones was not shy about what a casino would mean for the city.
“City council has three focus areas: reduce crime, improve education, and increase economic development. If approved by voters, I say it again, if approved by voters in the November election, this project is anticipated to generate $35 million in new annual revenue which will allow the city an opportunity to significantly improve each of these areas for years to come," said Jones.
Prior to the November election, town halls are expected to allow Caesars Entertainment to get to know the city and its residents and to help residents be able to make an educated decision when they go to the polls.
What will happen to the historic building at the Schoolfield site was unclear Monday, as plans for the casino were still being developed Grace said.
No potential opening date had been set as of Monday, but it would likely be in 2023 according to Grace.
A big step in Danville’s march toward having a casino happened Monday afternoon.
City leaders announced that they’re in negotiations with Caesars Entertainment to be the city’s preferred casino gaming operator.
The resort is proposed to be built at the former Dan River Mills industrial complex in Schoolfield.
Here’s a look a what Caesars would bring to Danville, according to city leaders:
- An anticipated capital investment of $400 million
- More than $30 million in revenue for the city from gaming taxes and supplemental payments to Danville
- $20 million in upfront payments to the City for land acquisition and other public investments
- $4 million in direct additional annual taxes from real estate, meals, sales and hotel taxes
- Creation of 1,300 jobs with benefits and averages wages between $35,000 and $47,000
- 35,000-square-foot conference center
- 2,500-seat live entertainment venue
- 2,000 slot machines
- Up to 500 hotel rooms
- 75 table games
- 16 poker tables
- A sportsbook
- Multiple restaurants and bars
If the project does get the greenlight, it’s expected to be completed in 2023 and generate 900 construction jobs.
The decision about whether or not a casino will be coming to Danville still lies with the voters, who will have to vote as to one will be allowed in the city.
“While the City of Danville is not taking a position on how people should vote on a referendum, we felt it was important that should the voters decide to approve casinos, that the City do everything it could to make sure it is done well,” City Manager Ken Larking said. "This involved examining the type of development, the qualifications of the operator, and the potential for new revenue, among other factors.
Before voters will see a referendum on their ballot, Danville City Council still has to allow the referendum to happen.
Watch the full announcement: