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How small businesses can learn more and be a part of the Portsmouth casino project

Project officials hope to break ground by either spring or summer of 2021.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Next week, small businesses have a chance to get in on a big venture: the Rivers Casino Portsmouth project. 

On February 16, it'll host a virtual vendor fair for businesses that are interested in the details behind the project, and who are interested in potentially placing bids to be a part of the building process. 

A spokesperson for the casino told 13News Now there are over 1,000 registrations for the event, happening between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. 

“Get everybody aware, not just on the headlines, but what actually is it? How large is it going to be? When is it happening?" said Justin Ballard with S.B. Ballard Construction Company. 

Last week, S.B. Ballard-Yates was announced as the joint venture general contractor to build the casino. The partnership combines S.B. Ballard Construction, a Hampton Roads-based company founded in 1978, with Philadelphia-based Yates Construction. 

“It has so many different stakeholders that are crucial to the whole success. Obviously, the construction team is crucial from the general contracting side, but arguably more is the trade partners that work with us that are the craftsmen and the professionals in the field every day," Ballard said.

Portsmouth is one of four cities in Virginia where voters approved casino ventures within the city. The others are Norfolk, Danville, and Bristol City. The votes for both Hampton Roads projects were approved by a nearly two-thirds rate. 

Estimated at more than $300 million, a spokesperson for the casino is hoping to finish completion by late 2022 or 2023. 

“The goal is to be breaking ground by this spring, or early summer. Everything is laser-focused on that," Ballard said. 

Ballard added that the size of businesses does not matter.

“If you are a small mason, for example, you might think a $300 million project is way too large to be a part of. But that’s not the case," Ballard said. 

People who are interested can register at the project's website: riverscasinoportsmouth.com.