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Caesars Virginia requests rezoning of Schoolfield property to casino entertainment district

DANVILLE REGISTER & BEE – JOHN CRANE: The Danville Planning Commission will likely recommend next week whether to rezone the former Dan River Inc. site at Schoolfield to allow a casino there.

Caesars Virginia has applied to the city to have the property at 1100 W. Main St. rezoned from heavy industrial to casino entertainment. The city, through a vote by Danville City Council, established permitted uses and regulations for the zoning district last month.

A public hearing will be held during the planning commission’s meeting Monday.
If approved, the casino entertainment district would cover the north side of West Main Street from Bishop Road to Baltimore Avenue.

Planning Commission Chairman Harold Garrison, who voted in favor of the casino during the citywide referendum last November, would not say whether he would vote to recommend approval of the rezoning.

“I would want to see what’s presented,” Garrison said Tuesday. “I try not to make up my mind on anything prior to it coming before us.”

Caesars has been in the conceptual design phase of its planned project at the former Dan River Inc. site, trying to determine where the pieces of the casino resort will go at the property.

Caesars Entertainment’s architect for the $400 million casino project is Las Vegas-based Marnell Companies. The firm has been behind casino/hotel and other projects including the famous Bellagio Las Vegas, the Caesars Palace convention expansion, Park MGM, Wynn Las Vegas Hotel, Haus of Gaga-Park MGM and numerous others, according to the company’s website.

Rules within the district — which must be at least 75 acres in size — include a 70-decibel limit on outside noise between 9 a.m. and midnight, and a 50-decibel limit between midnight and 9 a.m. when measured at the property line of a residential zone.

Also, a 25-foot landscaped buffer must be provided along any property line abutting a residential zoning district.

The casino resort is expected to include multiple restaurants and bars, a hotel with 300 four-star guest rooms, a 35,000-square-foot conference center, a 2,500-seat live-entertainment venue, a pool and a spa. It would also have 2,000 slot machines, 75 table games, 16 poker tables and a sportsbook to wager on various sports competitions.

It would bring 1,300 full-time jobs once operational, in addition to 900 jobs during construction. The casino positions are expected to pay an average between $35,000 and $47,000 annually.

Groundbreaking on the project is expected by casino officials take place in December.

Hiring for Caesars should start in the fourth quarter of 2022 or first quarter of 2023. Construction should be complete in the second or third quarter of 2023, with the casino opening in the third or fourth quarter.

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