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The Pamunkey Indian Tribe and their development partners submitted new construction plans to the City of Norfolk for the planned Headwaters Resort and Casino.

The city’s Architectural Review Board will get its first look at the plans Monday – the first of several steps before the tribe can start construction.

City officials objected to a two-phase proposal from the Pamunkey last year that would have delayed the hotel and other resort elements for at least a couple of years.

The new plans show a 65,000 square foot casino next to Harbor Park, with several restaurants and a 12-story hotel with pool, spa and fitness center.

It doesn’t include a marina on the Elizabeth River as shown in earlier iterations of the casino plan from 2018. 

Norfolk Mayor Kenny Alexander has previously said the city wouldn’t accept anything less than the full project promised to the voters who approved the casino project in a referendum in 2020.

Rendering courtesy of Pamunkey Indian Tribe. 

This rendering from the original set of images released by the Pamunkey Tribe in late 2018 and early 2019 shows a waterfront casino, hotel tower and marina - considerably different than the plans the tribe has under consideration now.

The Norfolk casino was the first to be set to move forward in the state - intially as a tribal casino, before state law had been changed to allow for commercial casinos. The earliest concept from 2018 included a gleaming $700 million, 20-acre tower complex. But the announcement of the Pamunkey's plans triggered a flurry of activity at the state capital that resulted in the approval of casinos in five cities around the state. 

The introduction of competition prompted the tribe to scale back plans to a $500 million resort casino in Norfolk. But as it's been struggling through construction planning, other operations have already gotten up and running.

The Rivers Casino in neighboring Portsmouth opened nearly a year ago and has posted at least $20 million in gambling revenue every month since, according to reports from the state Lottery Board.

The Pamunkey are up against a hard deadline to open their casino.

If it can’t start gaming operations by November 2025, its state authorization will run out. To hit that, construction would likely need to start early in 2024.

In the documents submitted to the city, the tribe doesn’t outline any kind of construction timeline.