The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has reached an agreement with developer Steve Johnson to develop and operate a casino on a 350-acre tract in Washington County, adjacent to The Pinnacle retail center, according to a news release.
“I have visited the site along I-81 and I am impressed with its strategic, gateway location that serves a five-state area,” said Richard Sneed, chief of the EBCI. “It is our wish to bring new tax revenue and jobs to Washington County and the Southwest Virginia region in a positive and impactful way.”
The EBCI is known for its Harrah’s Cherokee Resort Hotel and Casino in Cherokee, North Carolina.
“Our agreement with Chief Sneed of the EBCI is an extraordinary opportunity to bring an experienced casino owner-operator to Washington County and the Southwest Virginia region,” Johnson said. “We look forward to working with the [EBCI], local leaders, and elected officials in Richmond to bring this massive opportunity to fruition.”
In addition to the proposed casino and luxury hotel, the development would include a 15,000-seat outdoor concert venue, recreational facilities and a hotel featuring an indoor water park, the release states.
This proposal comes as Virginia considers allowing casino gaming — and this isn’t the only casino project that’s been proposed for the Bristol area. Local business leaders Jim McGlothlin and Clyde Stacy have proposed opening a Hard Rock Bristol Resort and Casino in the former Bristol Mall.
A Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission study showed the Bristol project and other proposed casinos would prove financially viable and generate new revenue for the state.