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Pamunkey Indian Tribe Postpones Presentation of Norfolk Casino Blueprint

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The Pamunkey Indian Tribe, together with its casino development team, has announced that it is pushing back the presentation of the latest blueprints for the HeadWaters Resort & Casino in Norfolk to January 22.

Jay Smith, the casino spokesperson, explained that the tribe and developer are taking some extra time to respond to concerns about the project before it is presented to the Architectural Review Board.

A Project Beset by Delays

The HeadWaters Resort & Casino, located between the baseball stadium and the Amtrak station near downtown Norfolk, has seen several changes since its initial approval in 2020. Plans to operate a temporary casino in Harbor Park were abandoned in 2022 as they were found not to comply with the specifications set out in the 2020 referendum. The developer then revealed a two-stage plan for a casino and resort last year; however, it was opposed by city leaders and had to be withdrawn.

The latest blueprint was published in December 2023. It aims to start operating gaming activities in 2025 while construction of the resort’s hotel and spa continues. The plans also left out the previously proposed Elizabeth River.

Related: Tribal Casino Planned for Norfolk, Virginia, Faces New Delays

Construction Yet to Start Three Years after Approval

The Pamunkey Indian Tribe received voter approval in 2020 for the $500 million project but is yet to start construction. The project still needs approval from the Architectural Review Board, which evaluates new brick-and-mortar casinos and overall construction projects on land owned by the city.

The project will occupy roughly 13.5 acres, and the land is due to be bought from the city for $10 million. In addition to problems with plans for a temporary casino, there have also been disagreements over development approaches, and delays due to a city-funded seawall project.

The casino development agreement stipulates that HeadWaters must be operational by November 2025, and if this deadline is missed, it will have financial implications for the tribe and the city.

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