Renovations are continuing at Rosie’s Gaming Emporium in Vinton with a projected late April or early May opening— hopefully before the Kentucky Derby on May 4, according to John Marshall, Senior Vice President of the Colonial Downs Group.
The Colonial Downs Group is making a $300 million investment in the Commonwealth of Virginia to return competitive horse racing to the state and create a network of satellite Historical Horse Racing (HHR) facilities branded as “Rosie’s.” The HHR facility in New Kent plans to open in mid-May, followed by the Rosie’s Vinton. The first horse races at Colonial Downs are scheduled for August 8.
The Rosie’s in Vinton will feature HHR gaming technology, live simulcast horse races, and dining services.
In December 2018, Vinton Mayor Brad Grose announced that pari-mutuel off-track horse wagering was returning to Vinton in the former Colonial Downs building on Vinyard Road in 2019 with elaborate interior and exterior renovations.
A ground-breaking ceremony was held on December 17 with demolition already under way. The building was completely gutted with only the original walls and roofing remaining.
Construction has been ongoing at breakneck speed with about 30 workers on the job seven days a week. Mechanical systems have been upgraded; walls are framed; carpet is coming the last week in March, along with the HHR bases. Sections of the floor have been raised to accommodate the electronics to run the games. The games themselves will be delivered on April 3— a big milestone in the project.
CK Bosworth of Richmond is the general contractor for this Rosie’s and another Colonial Downs project in the Richmond area with many local subcontractors involved as well.
On March 19, town officials and members of the press were invited inside for a tour of the progress thus far on Rosie’s in anticipation of its opening in just over a month.
The tour was led by Rosie’s new general manager, Ernie Dellaverson, who has more than 25 years of experience in gaming leadership roles, most recently in Gulfstream Park, where he was the senior gaming operations leader at the South Florida thoroughbred racetrack casino. Dellaverson studied business administration and marketing at Pennsylvania State University.
“It is with great pleasure that we introduce Ernie to the Roanoke community,” said Marshall. “Everyone who meets Ernie will experience his big city instincts and small-town heart. His infectious energy will surely leave a lasting impression on guests and team members at Rosie’s.”
“Over the course of 25 years in the industry, I’ve learned how critical people skills are to the success of a business,” said Dellaverson. “We have much work to do building the team and opening Rosie’s. I look forward to immersing myself into the communities of Roanoke and Vinton and building the team at Rosie’s Vinton.”
Dellaverson says he is happy with the progress made on the renovations at the Rosie’s Vinton.
The facility will feature a restaurant seating about 34, a bar, a retail shop, and 150 Historical Horse Racing terminals.
The menu and its recipes are still under development, but plans are to feature burgers, salads, flat bread pizza, and sandwiches, with vanilla cake doughnuts that will be decorated with “nostalgic” candies of the 1950s.
Beer and wine will be available, including those locally brewed and bottled. Rosie’s is eager to form local partnerships.
The retail shop will be selling logo-ed wares.
Management says that each Rosie’s will be somewhat different as they examine each market they are serving in the state and strive to become part of the fabric of the individual community.
There will be a smoking area— HVAC enclosed.
Hours for Rosie’s Vinton will be weekdays 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. to 4 a.m.
The Rosie’s Vinton is expected to create 138 jobs in total, with orientation for employees beginning on April 11.
Applications are being accepted at the Vinton Rosie’s temporary offices located at 805 Hardy Road, Suite 2 or online by visiting www.colonialdowns.com/careers. A job fair is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on March 23 at the Rosie’s Vinton temporary offices.
Starting wages for HHR techs are advertised at $16/hour; cage cashier/teller, $15/hour plus tips; bartender, $9/hour plus tips; cooks, $17/hour; housekeeper, $13/hour; servers, $8/hour plus tips, with many other positions available. Marshall says that their benefits package is their real differentiator with full medical, dental, and vision coverage for $20 per paycheck.
The Rosie’s Vinton is not receiving any tax credits or government incentives. The town expects the enterprise to generate about $105,000 in tax revenue. Marshall says he hopes the amount will be even higher.
Town Manager Barry Thompson told Marshall that he is looking forward to Rosie’s being part of the community and that he feels the new venture is a “good fit for us.”
Mayor Brad Grose echoed those thoughts and noted that Rosie’s will add to the entertainment mix in the Vinyard Road area, which is already home to the Lancerlot Sports Complex just across the street.