Published on: December 5, 2022, 12:28 p.m.
Last updated: December 5, 2022, 12:56 p.m.
Hard Rock Bristol plans to break ground on the $400 million permanent resort this Wednesday, December 7th at 1pm local time.
Hard Rock International, the gaming and hospitality giant 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, respectively, are controlled by Virginia businessmen Jim McGlothlin and Clyde Stacey, the two men who spearheaded the state’s 2020 liberalization of commercial gambling in select cities across the commonwealth.
Hard Rock will finance most of the $400 million budget. The money will create the new ground level resort at Hard Rock Bristol, which will be adjacent to the former Bristol Mall. On Wednesday, the construction of the permanent resort building will begin.
After months of anticipation, the time has finally come to permanently build the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol,” the company said in a statement.
In July, Hard Rock opened a temporary gaming space, the first legal casino ever to open in Virginia, inside the mall in what was once a Belk department store. The 24/7 tentative gaming space includes 870 slot machines and 22 table games. Sports betting is only available online via the Hard Rock Sportsbook mobile app.
Opening summer 2024
Hard Rock expects construction of its Bristol development to take approximately 18 months from start to finish.
If this timeline is true, completion of the $400 million resort should take place around June 2024. Hard Rock has remained firm on Hard Rock Bristol opening sometime in the “summer of 2024.”
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol will include 300 hotel rooms, a 3,200-seat indoor concert theater and an outdoor amphitheater capable of accommodating an audience of 20,000.
Hard Rock Bristol will also have five restaurants and four bars, a spa and more 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 rooms planned for the summer 2024 opening of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Bristol could be augmented by a second hotel tower if demand warrants such an expansion.
Four casinos in the works
Virginia lawmakers and then the governor. 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 each had a casino opportunity to spur new economic activity in their regions.
Voters in all but Richmond approved the casinos through local referendums.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe of Virginia and veteran gambling billionaire Jon Yarbrough are building a $500 million casino in Norfolk called HeadWaters Resort & Casino. In nearby Portsmouth, Chicago-based Rush Street Gaming is preparing to open its Rivers Casino next month after spending $340 million to build a new standalone casino near Tidewater Community College.
And in Danville, Caesars Entertainment hopes to open Caesars Virginia in July 2024 at a cost of $650 million. The high budget compared to the other three casino ventures in Virginia is largely due to the fact that Caesars was required to undertake considerable demolition and excavation work to prepare the former Dan River Mills textile site for the future resort.