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Richmond Cuts Stratford Hills Casino Proposal From Running

A rendering of the proposed Bally's casino resort in Richmond's Statford Hills neighborhood
A rendering of the proposed Bally's casino resort in Richmond's Statford Hills neighborhood. (Courtesy of Bally's Corporation)

An evaluation panel appointed by Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced Wednesday that a proposal for a casino resort in the Stratford Hills neighborhood will not move forward.

The Bally’s Corporation proposed a $650 million casino resort on 61 acres of undeveloped land near Powhite and Chippenham Parkways. The proposal drew demonstrations from neighbors in recent weeks, protesting potential traffic impacts and negative environmental effects. Some also raised concerns about the presence of gravesites for free and formerly enslaved Black people near where the project was planned.

In its announcement Wednesday, Richmond’s evaluation panel said the project was cut from the running, citing similar concerns.

“The Evaluation Panel is no longer considering the Bally’s project or the Parkway Crossings site for a resort casino due to concerns about site access, environmental factors, and required approvals from non-city entities that may not be granted or extend the project timeline,” the panel said in a statement.

Following the news, Bally’s President and CEO George Papanier released a statement saying the company was surprised by the city’s decision and still believes it is the best operator.

“We were deeply committed to this project, as well as to becoming a responsible neighbor and member of the Richmond community,” Papanier said. “Should the City reconsider its decision we would be pleased to reengage.”

The evaluation panel’s action means that only two casino proposals are moving forward.

The Cordish Companies are pushing for a development on the current Movieland site in Scott’s Addition that it is calling Live! Casino + Hotel. The project would include restaurants, entertainment venues and 300 boutique hotel rooms. The property is currently owned by Bow Tie Cinemas.

A proposal from the Black-owned, Maryland-based media company Urban One would see a smaller casino and hotel built on Philip Morris USA property at Commerce Road and Walmsley Boulevard. The company is promising the city $25 million in advertising for local initiatives and $30 million in contributions to local nonprofits if selected.

The evaluation panel is expected to select one finalist to recommend to Richmond City Council for approval this summer. Voters will have an up-or-down vote on the final proposal in a referendum this November.