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Norfolk changes terms of waterfront casino project

Published: May. 28, 2020 at 12:53 PM EDT
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Officials in a Virginia city decided Tuesday that a waterfront casino project would move forward, but would no longer be built on Pamunkey Indian Tribe land.

The Norfolk City Council rescinded a previously approved deal with the tribe that would have converted the planned casino site along the Elizabeth River into sovereign tribal territory, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

Under the previous agreement, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe would have received city police, fire and utility services and would have paid an annual rent, but no taxes for the development on the approximately 13-acre (5-hectare) parcel, the newspaper said.

The Tuesday decision instead makes the project commercial and allows for the city to collect tax revenue.

The decision comes after opponents raised concerns about Norfolk losing its ability to develop the land in the future, among other issues with the deal, the newspaper reported.

The tribe's plans for the site include a $500 million complex with a hotel, restaurants and an entertainment venue, though Norfolk voters still have to agree to the project in a November vote, according to legislation that requires a local referendum for casinos to be built.