Posted on: December 5, 2022, 12:28h.
Last updated on: December 5, 2022, 12:56h.
Hard Rock Bristol plans to break ground on its $400 million permanent resort this Wednesday, December 7, at 1 p.m. local time.
A rendering of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol in Virginia. Hard Rock Bristol opened a temporary casino inside the former Bristol Mall in July 2022. Construction of the permanent resort is to begin this week. (Image: Hard Rock International)
Hard Rock International, the gaming and hospitality behemoth owned and operated by the Seminole Tribe of Florida, is leading the Bristol casino consortium with local partners United Company and Par Ventures. United and Par Ventures are, respectively, controlled by Virginia businessmen Jim McGlothlin and Clyde Stacey, the two men who spearheaded the state’s 2020 liberalization of commercial gaming in certain cities in the commonwealth.
Hard Rock will finance the bulk of the $400 million budget. The money will create Hard Rock Bristol’s new from-the-ground-up resort, which will stand adjacent to the former Bristol Mall. On Wednesday, construction of the permanent resort building will begin.
After months of anticipation, the time has finally come to break ground on the permanent Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol,” a company statement said.
In July, Hard Rock opened a temporary gaming space, the first legal brick-and-mortar casino to ever open in Virginia, inside the mall in what was once a Belk department store. The 24/7 provisional gaming space features 870 slot machines and 22 table games. Sports betting is available only online through the Hard Rock Sportsbook mobile app.
Summer 2024 Opening
Hard Rock expects construction of its Bristol development to take around 18 months from start to finish.
If that timeline holds true, completion of the $400 million resort should happen around June 2024. Hard Rock has remained steadfast in opening Hard Rock Bristol sometime in “the summer of 2024.”
The permanent Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol will include 300 hotel rooms, a 3,200-seat indoor concert theater, and an outdoor amphitheater able to accommodate an audience of 20K people.
Hard Rock Bristol will additionally feature five restaurants and four bars, a spa, and several retail shops. As for the casino, the 100,000-square-foot gaming space will house approximately 2,700 slot machines, 100 table games, and a sportsbook.
The 300 guestrooms planned for the summer 2024 opening of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol could be increased with a second hotel tower should demand warrant such an expansion.
Four Casinos in the Works
Virginia lawmakers and then-Gov. Ralph Northam (D) agreed to legalize casinos in five cities through the state’s 2020 gaming measure. Voters in Richmond, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Danville, and Bristol were each afforded a casino opportunity to spur new economic activity in their regions.
Voters in all but Richmond signed off on the casinos through local ballot referendums.
Virginia’s Pamunkey Indian Tribe and gaming veteran billionaire Jon Yarbrough are building a $500 million casino in Norfolk called HeadWaters Resort & Casino. In nearby Portsmouth, Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming is readying to open its Rivers Casino next month after spending $340 million to build a new standalone casino adjacent to Tidewater Community College.
And in Danville, Caesars Entertainment hopes to open Caesars Virginia in July 2024 at a cost of $650 million. The elevated budget compared with the three other Virginia casino undertakings is largely because Caesars was required to embark on considerable demolition and excavating work to prepare the former Dan River Mills textile site for the forthcoming resort.