Re-branded Richmond Grand Resort & Casino signs labor agreement with construction union

September 27, 2023
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Community feedback has caused the developers of a casino project, formerly known as Urban One, to seek union contracts in addition to promising childcare and park funding with future casino revenue.

Richmond Grand Resort and Casino developers have signed a project labor agreement with the Richmond Area Building and Construction Trades Council. The project will receive a vote on the November 7 ballot, though a similar referendum was recently rejected.

The Urban One Casino + Resort has rebranded and redesigned, due to feedback from the residents of Richmond, and the vote will now be cast on whether Richmond Grand Resort & Casino will be added to the city. Earlier this month city officials announced that $30m in annual tax could potentially come from the project and that it would allocate $26m for childcare in the area.

The city originally approved the development in 2021, but referendums and community dissent have stalled the project and caused developers to put $8.1m in this year’s campaign. The new casino could potentially create 1,300 additional permanent union jobs in the hospitality industry.

President Charles Skelly of the Richmond Area Building and Construction Trades Council said, “This project is good for the city for many reasons, and the most important reason is the jobs building and operating the resort and entertainment facility.

"Not just any jobs, but careers with family-sustaining wages, health care coverage without a paycheck deduction and the ability to one day retire with dignity.”

Not all Richmond locals are convinced that the creation of jobs will be what the area needs. Paul Goldman, with the group 'No Means No Casino' said to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Shame of the unions. This is nothing to be proud of. It doesn’t matter whether these are union jobs; it’s still exploiting working-class people.”

The original Urban One and Churchill Downs plans included a 250-room hotel, a 55-acre park and a 3,000-seat live music venue. In addition to the creation of a childcare fund, $8m of the casino’s planned tax revenue will be allocated to Parks and Recreation.

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