In Virginia and the city council for Norfolk has reportedly authorized an agreement that is set to give the federally-recognized Pamunkey Indian Tribe a five-year option on purchasing a 13.25-acre plot of downtown land for almost $10 million.

According to a Tuesday report from The Virginian-Pilot newspaper, the tribe is hoping to get the site near the center of the southern state’s second-largest city placed into trust before building a $700 million casino resort featuring restaurants, a 500-room hotel and an entertainments venue.

Operator options:

The newspaper reported that the Pamunkey Indian Tribe ultimately wants its envisioned Virginia facility to also feature a casino offering a selection of up to 4,000 slots and 225 gaming tables and has agreed that such a venue would annually compensate Norfolk to the tune of approximately $33 million. But, the tribe has purportedly detailed that it may eventually choose to build a smaller enterprise with only a 150-room hotel as well as a casino featuring 750 slots alongside 25 gaming tables and that such a venture as this would require it to pay a minimum of around $3 million to the city each year.

Resident resistance:

The Virginian-Pilot reported that the eight-member Norfolk City Council approved the deal with the tribe via a seven-to-one vote following a public hearing that had seen numerous locals voice their opposition. Some residents purportedly expressed concerns that community leaders had not conducted enough due diligence on the plan to bring a casino to their area while several members of the rival Nansemond Indian Tribe were on hand to question the authenticity of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe’s ancestral claim to the land.

Infrastructure investment:

The newspaper reported that the agreement worked out between Norfolk and the Pamunkey Indian Tribe moreover requires the tribe to pay for all infrastructure improvements that may be required by any new development and eventually contribute each year to local organizations tasked with combating gambling addictions.