News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Casinopocalypse Now, But Maybe Nearby: Casino Bill Appears to Strike Reston, Tysons Latest Victim

ZOMG, someone get Crystal Koons off the phone trying to upsell some Scotchguarding on that 1995 Camry and down to Richmond: the fun, 96-story casino first proposed by State Sen. Dave Marsden last year appears to no longer have the exotic, semi-occupied parallelograms of Reston in its sights. New legislation introduced by Marsden in this legislative session narrows the language of where the proposed casino could be placed to exactly one (1) spot: an abandoned car lot in the Paris of Fairfax County, Tysons Corner. Those are disappearing fast, but they still shouldn't have too much trouble finding one! Give us some good how-the-legislative-sausage-is-made blockquote, BFFs at ActionMcNews4!

“The eligible host locality described in subdivision A 6 shall be limited to a proposed site for a casino gaming establishment that is (i) located within one-quarter of a mile of an existing station on the Metro Silver Line, (ii) part of a coordinated mixed-use project development, (iii) outside of the Dulles airport flight path, (iv) within two miles of a major shopping destination containing not less than 1.5 million square feet of gross building area, and (v) outside of the Interstate 495 Beltway.”

On Wednesday, Marsden specified that the language actually only allows the casino on one particular parcel in Tysons, on the site of a "defunct auto dealership on Route 7 in Tysons,” he said.

It goes without saying the idea of a casino in Reston has proven... unpopular. The Reston Citizens Association, Rescue Reston, Reston Strong, Save Our Sunrise, and Reston 20/20 joined forces to create Citizens Opposed to Reston Casino (CORC). The Reston Association created a website and wrote a letter formally opposing the idea. They even made a fancy YouTube video:

In his weekly email message this afternoon, Hunter Mill Supervisor Walter Alcorn said it isn't clear if the proposed car lot casino site is in his district or not, but if it is, "I want to reiterate that I am against a casino in Hunter Mill District and will continue to work to defeat any legislation that could lead to what I consider a bad outcome for our community." Our BFFs at Reston 2020 talked about the social impact of casinos, and pointed out the massive amount of lobbying Comstock has put into the... hospitality field:

So far, it has hired six lobbyists through its hospitality subsidiary and  created “Building a Remarkable Virginia” PAC that has contributed more than $500,000 to Virginia state political candidates (including $109K to Marsden and Sen. Surovell, another local casino proponent).  Virtually all the money is from Comstock executives or others closely associated with Comstock. 

The funny thing is that the ActionMcNews article describing the new bill spoke to an anonymous "interested developer," whose identity we can't possibly guess, except for following all those dollars lined up in a cartoon-like trail from Reston Station straight to Richmond:

An interested developer said on background that a casino alone isn’t their vision. This developer, who asked to remain anonymous given the early stages and competitiveness of such a large project, envisions a casino paired with a large convention center, hotels, restaurants, office space and residences. Some Fairfax County officials have previously opined their desire to have a convention center and/or entertainment venue.

Sounds perfect for Tysons, where as of late last year, you can stroll around the mall with a cocktail in your hand, just like that nearly as entertaining desert mecca in Nevada. And, in fact, there's a casino design that would work perfectly with that  Emerald City marketing concept that was unironically pitched for Tysons Corner a few years back:

Imagine walking out the front door of that glittering green mauvescraper and using your hard-won slots winnings at the Wal-Mart next door, the end.

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