Hard Rock International, along with The United Company and Par Ventures, has been endorsed by the Bristol, Virginia City Council as the preferred operator of a proposed casino at the site of a former shopping mall.

In November 2019, the globally recognized brand, which is an enterprise of the federally-recognized Seminole Tribe of Florida, was unveiled as the intended operator for the Hard Rock Bristol Resort and Casino to be located on a parcel of land that was home to the Bristol Mall for more than four decades.

this project will be a game-changer for Bristol

Hard Rock International, along with backers Jim McGlothlin, Chief Executive Officer for The United Company, and Clyde Stacy, longtime Southwest Virginia business leaders, are all equity owners in the project now expected to cost $400 million. Stacy’s company, Par Ventures LLC, finalized the acquisition of the Bristol Mall for $2.6 million on June 6, 2018, and three months later announced plans for the resort casino.

November voter referendum:

City Manager Randy Eads said that they will now submit their paperwork outlining the city council’s endorsement of Hard Rock to the Virginia Lottery Board, which “has 45 days to give us that prequalification letter back,” as reported by WCYB News 5.

After receiving approval from the lottery board, which will hold a meeting on July 15, a local referendum must still be held and Virginia citizens must approve a specific site in the locality for casino gaming. That is expected to take place on November 3, 2020.

Project team statement:

The following statement was issued by Richmond-based public relations and government relations firm, Alliance Group, which is handling lobbying efforts for the project that is expected to transform the former Bristol Mall into an expansive resort-casino concept:

“We want to thank members of the Bristol, Virginia City Council for their strong support tonight of the Hard Rock Casino Bristol. We also want to recognize City Manager Randy Eads, and his team, for their diligence during this process. We plan to honor this trust and confidence by building a world-class destination resort.

As we shared in our presentation tonight to City Council, Hard Rock is a premiere global entertainment brand. Each location embodies the local charm and character of that community. The Hard Rock Casino Bristol will honor the region’s heritage as ‘The Birth Place of Country Music.’ As an entertainment destination, we plan to offer restaurants and shops new to the region, large indoor and outdoor music venues and a convention center.

In tonight’s meeting, our elected officials and residents all echoed a similar theme – this project will be a game-changer for Bristol, with a tremendous boost to our local economy from thousands of new jobs and additional City tax revenue. The resort will be a catalyst for the entire region, helping to create jobs at local businesses that will serve the four million tourists a year coming to Bristol to enjoy our outdoor beauty and visit the many wonderful entertainment, cultural and recreational attractions across Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee.

The voters in Bristol, Virginia will have an opportunity to approve this project on the ballot in this year’s November 3, 2020, General Election. Between today and November 3, we will work hard so that Bristol, Virginia voters are fully-informed on this project and understand the significant ways in which it will benefit our community.”

Development details:

McGlothlin said earlier this year that the plans for Hard Rock Bristol include a 100,000-square-foot casino and a 100,000-square-foot convention center, both of the spaces will have a raised roof,  while a 600-room hotel will be built in the parking lot of the rear entrance of the former mall property, according to the Bristol Herald Courier.

In addition to thousands of new jobs, the development is reportedly expected to bring the city an estimated $15-20 million of tax revenue per year, according to WCYB News 5.