Portsmouth City Council votes to support resolution on new proposed gaming, entertainment district

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Slot machines, black jack tables, poker and more. The City of Portsmouth is hoping to hit the jackpot.

Tuesday night, the Portsmouth City Council voted to support a resolution for a new proposed gaming and entertainment district site.

Councilman Glover also made a motion that the council conduct a neighborhood impact study to find out how the actual project would impact the neighborhood.

In a work session Monday at City Hall, David Moore, the city's economic development director, proposed a new location for a 400,000-square foot gaming center. The plans for a center on the Elizabeth River have been canned.

Moore believes the new proposed inland location near I-264, Victory Boulevard and TCC's Portsmouth campus has better accessibility then the former proposed waterfront site, which was seven acres at the former Holiday Inn. Mayor John Rowe agrees.

"It consequently has high volumes of traffic coming past the site, it's bigger, has great access and we can do more," said Rowe. "Our goal was to always have something more than a casino."

Related: Legislation would permit Pamunkey Indians to open resort casinos in Virginia 

Rowe says 90,000 cars a day drive near the 50-acre tract of land that many know as the former "Victory Village" site.

Moore told council Monday that 4.1 million people are within an hour and a half drive of the site, and 1.2 million people are already over the age of 21 in Hampton Roads, furthering a good fit.

"This is really going to enhance Portsmouth. It will mean additional jobs, an expanded tax base and make Portsmouth a destination city," he said.

The site would feature a large hotel, movie theater, casino, concert hall, restaurants and more.

"I think there is quite a bit of enthusiasm on part of council," stated Rowe.

Rowe believes 4,000 jobs could come with the district. The next meeting on the proposed project is set for July 30 at City Hall.

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