Caesars Virginia to Hear Public Input for Casino at Former Textile Mill Site

Posted on: August 23, 2021, 12:09h. 

Last updated on: August 24, 2021, 08:00h.

Caesars Virginia is one of four casinos authorized in the state. The $400 million resort set for Danville will hear public input on its design at a meeting later today.

Caesars Virginia Danville casino resort
Workers, including children, go to work at the Dan River Inc. Schoolfield Cotton Mills site on June 9, 1911. The long-abandoned textile mills complex is being redeveloped into a $400 million gaming resort called Caesars Virginia. (Image: Library of Congress)

Danville voters last November approved a local ballot referendum authorizing a commercial casino within the Virginia city. Approximately 69 percent of area residents lent their support to allow Danville and Caesars Entertainment to construct a resort in order to spur economic growth in the region.

Tonight, Caesars will host a public input meeting at the former Dan River Inc. Welfare Building, directly across from the historic Dan River textile site where the casino is planned.

Caesars committed to receive public input on the design of the project,” said Robert Livingston, Caesars’ senior VP of development. “On top of that, engaging with the communities where we operate is a key part of who we are as a company.”

Livingston explained that the casino giant hopes to receive feedback on the resort’s overall architecture, amenities, and attractions, and specific design elements, such as color palettes and what sort of materials should be used.

Blight to Life

Caesars Virginia is tasked with reimagining the 85-acre complex that was once the economic hub of Danville.

The Schoolfield village operated as an independent town since its founding in 1903 by Dan River Inc. The property was the home of two textile mills that operated from the 1880s through 2006.

Danville annexed Schoolfield in 1951. The mills’ vacant and deteriorating manufacturing buildings and warehouses have long been an eyesore south of the city. Danville’s economy has struggled for years, which led to city officials and residents signing off on the casino in hopes that it will lead to a revival.

Early plans for the $400 million casino suggest a 300-room, four-star hotel, 35,000-square-foot conference center, 2,500-seat entertainment hall, a spa and pool complex, and a casino floor featuring 2,000 slot machines, 75 table games, and a sportsbook.

Once completed, Caesars Virginia is projected to need 1,300 full-time workers. They will receive an annual salary ranging between $35,000-$47,000. The US Census Bureau reveals that the average per capita income for a Danville resident in 2019 was $34,103.

Caesars has brought in Las Vegas-based Marnell Companies to design the resort. The architectural firm is responsible for several iconic Strip properties, including the Bellagio, Forum Shops at Caesars Palace, and Wynn Las Vegas.

2023 Opening Remains

Caesars’ development agreement with Danville guarantees the city that it will invest at least $400 million in the undertaking. The minimum wage at the resort is mandated at $15 per hour.

Despite ongoing challenges caused by COVID-19, Caesars officials say their Danville timeline is unchanged. The casino is still on schedule to open in the fourth quarter of 2023.

The construction process includes demolishing numerous structures left over from the Dan River Inc. days. Officials say there are about 700,000 square feet of building space that must come down before work on the resort can begin.

Danville expects its share of gaming revenue taxes to reach $22 million by the third full year that the casino is in operation.

Three other cities are also moving forward with casinos — Bristol, Norfolk, and Portsmouth. Voters in Richmond will decide this November whether to sign off on a casino development.