Colonial Downs took the first step toward opening a Rosie’s off track betting facility in Richmond.
Colonial Downs officials, along with Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, Richmond councilman Michael Jones, horse race industry officials and other local officials, broke ground at the former Kmart site off of Midlothian Turnpike on Wednesday. Around 75 people attended the ceremony.
The facility is expected to be ready to open in June, while the Rosie’s emporium in Colonial Downs projected to open in April, according to Colonial Downs spokesperson Mark Hubbard.
Colonial Downs is investing $41 million dollars into the Richmond facility to upgrade and build the off track betting site. The facility is expected to generate around $15.5 million in taxes annually, with up to $4 million going to the city of Richmond, according to a news release from Colonial Downs.
The facility is 140,000 square feet and will have 700 historical horse racing machines inside — machines that allow players to gamble on previously contested races. The payouts come from pools of money generated by the players, according to the news release.
The facility will have 30 plus seats for off track betting and live streams of thoroughbred horse racing throughout the country, as well as a restaurant with 100 seats, a bar and a gift shop.
There will be plenty of exterior lighting, surveillance cameras and security for facility security measures. The hours of operation are still to be determined, but the facility will be open seven days a week with longer operating hours on the weekend, according to the news release.
At the ceremony, Colonial Downs chief operations officer Aaron Gomes said that the facility will be a world-class destination.
“We are excited to bring this to Richmond and we anticipate that we will bring over 1 million visitors to the location annually,” Gomes said. “A lot of them from out of town and some of them from our surrounding counties in the area.”
Colonial Downs general manager and executive vice president John Marshall said the facility will host Richmond’s biggest Kentucky Derby and Virginia Derby parties.
Richmond councilman Michael Jones, who represents the ninth district where the facility is located said he’s glad that the city council paved the way for the facility to open.
“We are very supportive of the facility and Colonial Downs coming and improving not only the ninth district, but Richmond,” Jones said. “Colonial Downs, by right by the code could’ve come and done the project without consultation, but they came and did it the right way, the way a business partner should. We had many meetings and they spoke to constituents about the facility.”
Jones said that Colonial Downs is invested in the community and will invest $500,000 in Miles Jones Elementary School over the next five years to improve school conditions.
The off-track betting facility is an intersection of three important industries in Virginia, according to Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney.
“It has tourism, agriculture and economic development,” Stoney said. “We are also getting a little piece of New Kent County in Richmond, which isn’t that bad, right? I have love for the county and region.”
Stoney said he can’t wait to come back for the grand opening and walk through the facility doors.
Those in attendance at the ceremony included Virginia Equine Alliance president Deborah Easter, Richmond councilwomen Reva Trammell, Kristen Lawson and Kimberly Gray, New Kent County Board of Supervisors chairman Thomas Evelyn, supervisor Patricia Paige and economic development director Matthew Smolnik.
Construction on the site will begin immediately. The Richmond location is one of the five off track betting facilities the group is looking to open, including the Rosie’s at Colonial Downs in New Kent and planned facilities in Hampton, Chesapeake and Vinton, according to Hubbard.
Luck can be reached at 757-291-2038, firstname.lastname@example.org and @ashleyrluck on Twitter