Bordered by several warehouses, I-95, railroad tracks and wetlands area, the former Phillip Morris site at Commerce Road and Walmsley Boulevard on Richmond’s south side, is waiting to be transformed into a high visibility and easily accessible ONE Casino + Resort. And probably one of the more unique aspects of the proposed complex is Glory Park, 55 acres of usable greenspace for outdoor enthusiasts.
The lush 20-acre park will include space for community gardens, miles of bike trails, a one-acre festival lawn with designated food truck space, a playground for all ages and abilities, large- and small-breed dog parks, six different fitness trails and a walk-through arboretum that features Richmond’s native plant and tree species. In addition to the park, part of the trails will meander through 35 acres of untouched, preserved wetlands providing nature enthusiasts an opportunity to view Richmond’s natural landscape and wildlife.
“It’s a most desirable location with nature naturally built into it,” said Alfred Liggins, Urban One chief executive officer. “The green space park is such a large part of the resort complex and adds so many nature-loving amenities for the residents of Richmond.”
In addition to the park, the $560 million complex will include the casino, a four-star 250-room luxury hotel, a 3,000 person capacity theater with 200 live shows annually, a 15,000-square-foot sound stage and production studio, as well as multiple retail shops, craft breweries and restaurants that will reflect Richmond’s culture and diversity – all amenities not currently available in the city’s south side neighborhood.
If approved on the November ballot by voters, construction on the project will begin immediately, with completion scheduled for October 2024, just in time to experience the colorful fall foliage at Glory Park. The casino and resort project is a completely private investment and no taxpayer dollars will be spent on this project. It is also projected to generate $525 million in new tax revenue over the first decade, all of which will be reinvested into community infrastructure initiatives. The city is already inviting residents to submit their suggestions for these projects.
For more than 20 years, Liggins’ company, the largest Black-owned distributor of urban content in the country, has operated multiple Richmond radio stations, including WKJS-FM KISS, WSPN/Richmond, Praise 104.7 FM and iPower, among others. Passage of the November referendum will also make the company the only Black majority-owned casino in the country. And, the only one with a 55-acre park on its site.
“Richmond is a crown jewel in terms of natural beauty and resources,” Liggins said, “and Glory Park will showcase these attributes to the fullest. It’s the perfect spot for families to relax, people to gather, to picnic and to just enjoy the city’s precious natural landscape. It’s a win for everyone.”