Hampton shoppers: Rosie’s Gaming Emporium limits access to neighboring retail stores

As a paying member of BJ’s Wholesale Club, Brian Imes regularly visits the location at Power Plant Parkway in Hampton, often making stops to other retail stores around it, including Lowe’s Home Improvement, and further down, Bass Pro Shops.

One thing he didn’t expect when he visited the stores on a recent Saturday afternoon was having to park his car on the far side of Lowe’s and then walking to BJ’s because of an overcrowded parking lot — an issue Imes said has been caused by the new Rosie’s Gaming Emporium there.

“I understand that Hampton is getting an absurd amount of tax revenue from this and that is a positive thing for the city, but the downside is they should’ve looked long into this before they granted it and checked out the parking situation,” he said.

Imes, a Hampton resident, said he’s attempted to contact Mayor Donnie Tuck and other city officials though his voicemails and complaints to the 311 Citizen Contact Center haven’t yet been addressed, “somewhere along the lines the city should be liable for this major cluster flip they created.”

City Council approved a building permit for the off-track betting site last January and the Richmond-based Colonial Downs LLC. broke ground in the Power Plant Hampton Roads shopping center soon after.

Rosie’s Gaming Emporium opened by October 2019 and is expected to generate close to $2 million in tax revenue for the city each year while also bringing more customers to the shopping center.

“They [city officials] should force them to either build a parking garage or have them [Rosie’s customers] park in that empty lot at the Convention Center and have them bused in. That would be the ideal thing so that it’s not inconveniencing the other businesses,” Imes said.

Mark Hubbard, a spokesman for Colonial Downs, said weekends are certainly busiest at Rosie’s but management is aware of the parking issue and has asked employees to park away from the main entrance area to leave spaces open for patrons.

“We anticipate some parking improvements being made in the next 30 to 45 days and we are cooperating with the property owner and look forward to improving parking conditions at that location,” Hubbard said.

Robin McCormick, a spokeswoman for the city, said Hampton’s Economic Development Authority does own the land Power Plant Hampton Roads sits on but because of long-term leases with development company, The Cordish Company, the city does not manage nor does it have “any direct relationship” with Power Plant tenants.

“The fact that some customers may find they have to park a little farther from their destination during busy times is a reminder that the businesses there are thriving and boosting the city’s economy, employment, and tax base,” McCormick said in the emailed statement.

Representatives from The Cordish Company did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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