Danville casino project to exceed $500 million, could add 200 more hotel rooms

It looks like the Caesars Virginia project will be more costly and a little bigger than originally planned.

The price tag for the initial $400 million project will likely be more than $100 million higher, said a senior vice president with Caesars Entertainment.

“We’re going to be north of $500 million,” Robert Livingston told about 75 members of the community during a public input meeting held Monday evening at the former Dan River Inc. Welfare Building on West Main Street.

Also, the estimated number of hotel rooms is expected to be 500 instead of 300, he said.

Caesars Virginia senior director of design and construction Mark Schlang told attendees the casino project is evolving and that the company is “digging into the site to understand the nuts and bolts.”

“One of the things we’re looking at is what can we preserve about the site,” Schlang said.

The prominent three smokestacks at the former Dan River Inc. site in Schoolfield, where the casino will be built, will be made into an iconic part of the project, Schlang said.

The smokestacks — known as the “three sisters” — will anchor the entertainment forum at the casino resort, he said. Caesars also will add more towers.

Multiple restaurant venues, and a brew pub and sports bar will also be part of the resort, said Schlang, who also mentioned celebrity chefs such as Gordon Ramsey.

Also, “there will also be a Starbucks in there somewhere,” he said of the casino project.

There will also be an outdoor pool area and a parking garage with 1,200 spaces, Schlang added. Other features could include fire pits, hot tubs, a spa and a VIP area, he said.

A common design element will be red brick, with tonal colors and lighter elements, as well, Schlang said.

The conceptual design for the project is complete, with work currently being done on schematic designs that include figuring out where pieces of the project fit together, Livingston said.

“The architecture is on track in blending Caesars with the rich history of the community,” he said.

Permitting for the project should be complete by the middle of November, Livingston said.

Residents wondering whether any work is being done on the project can expect to see activity in the near future, he said.

“You’re going to see a lot of heavier activity sooner rather than later,” Livingston said.

Visitors to the casino resort can expect to see a pedestrian entrance and a secondary car entrance from West Main Street, Schlang said.

Casino representatives expect to have a larger unveiling of the design on Sept. 16.

Register and Bee – John Crane