NORFOLK, Va. — Transforming the parking lot beside Harbor Park in Norfolk won't be a simple task. To do so, HeadWaters Resort & Casino is searching for small and local business owners to help with the workload.
"‘How can I get involved?' I focus on small businesses, so I have a different perspective, what’s going to bring people in," said Donna Hickson, the owner of L.O.V. Marketing Agency out of Suffolk.
On Tuesday, the W.M. Jordan Company and Suffolk Construction hosted a second contractor and outreach event to find local contractors to be a part of the casino's construction process moving forward.
Construction hasn't started on the waterfront property, but casino leadership hopes to do so by summer 2022. Before then, the casino needs trade and construction partners to help tackle everything from plumbing work, electrical and more.
“In order for a project of this magnitude to be successful, we have to have as many trades and crafts and folks working on the project as possible," said. Rodney Ferguson, the executive vice president of gaming and resort operations.
A Hampton Roads native, this will be Ferguson's 10th casino he's overseen over the span of his 40-year gaming industry career. He said the focus is to have as many small and minority-owned businesses as possible on the project.
“Let’s say drywall, millwork, plumbing electrical, anything you can think of that’s in a home," Ferguson said.
Construction for the $500 million project is estimated to take two years, with a targeted grand opening in the summer or fall of 2024.
Ferguson said that the Virginia Lottery still has not officially approved the casino license, a step that was initially hoped to get accomplished in the fall of 2021.