A new gaming resort is heading to Dumfries.
Called “The Rose,” it will be built on the Potomac Landfill, 3730 Greentree Lane.
The project was originally presented at a Town Council meeting earlier this year. It would be run by Colonial Downs Group, which opened Rosie’s Gaming Emporium, a gaming facility, in January.
Mayor Derrick Wood spoke about “The Rose” and the impact that the gaming facility has had in a recent Community Conversations.
The full interview can be viewed below.
Here is the interview transcription:
ST Billingsley: Thank you for joining us today here on What’s Up Prince William with our community conversations with Mayor Derrick Wood. Thank you for being with us today.
Derrick Wood: Hey, thanks for having me. And I really appreciate what you all do for the community and how you keep us informed of everything that’s happening. These resources are very valuable, especially from the local perspective, because there’s not many perspectives on local of what’s happening and from a positive perspective in the community. So thank you for what you do.
ST Billingsley: Sure. We enjoy what we’re doing and we enjoy being able to talk about stories like this that actually help the community get better and help everyone here in the community.
Derrick Wood: Well, that’s what’s up.
ST Billingsley: Yeah. So with the announcement of Rosie’s going in over there on the old dump, obviously that’s not the new news, but tell us a little bit, as far as some of the things that you had to overcome as far as actually with that coming into the town.
Derrick Wood: I think the biggest hurdle, first of all, was the perception of it being a landfill. Yes, they do a lot of recycle and construction landfill over there. If anybody’s been following the town news over the last 25 years, they know that the landfill for our community has been a huge eyesore. And it’s been a major pain point. And so being able to find somebody, one who is willing to come in and buy and develop on something that’s undevelopable, right? It was already scheduled to come back to the town in the next five to ten years. We had a host fee agreement to allow them to continue to build. Then it would have been the town’s responsibility to then develop whatever was supposed to be over and the owners would have to watch over it for 10 years. So once we found Rosie’s, who was particularly interested because the landfill had 10… I think it’s about 12 acres that was undeveloped, that was closer to 95.
Derrick Wood: It was zoned all residential, because they were going to build some townhouses themselves around there initially. And so they looked at those 12 acres and tried to figure out what would be the best use for that space. I asked them for a convention center, but they said it definitely wasn’t enough acreage for a convention center.
ST Billingsley: Right.
Derrick Wood: So then the hurdle was are, how do we design something to this space that’d be attractive? And that would draw people. So it really was a listening session to figure out what the needs of the community was. And I mean, when you got a developer who comes to the town, and the first question they ask is, “what do you need?” That’s always refreshing because they already had a product. They already had a service. They knew what they had, but they really wanted to understand what we need. And so we sat down and told them there was no convention space around here.
Derrick Wood: Right? And so we looked at, you got The Clubs at Quantico, right? You have the other little mansion in Manassas, but outside of that in Prince William County, as a whole, most big major events, they were happening at Fort Belvoir. They were happening in Crystal City, Arlington area. And a lot of those big hotels. So we had, I think in nowhere in the county, there is no four-star or better hotel, right? With any type of room service and none of that. So we talked about the need for hotels, convention space, a place to have nice concerts and stuff like that. And when they designed this thing it was really okay, how can they do this in a way to make money? And it’s funny because when you look at George Mason, their performing arts center down there, they have over 2000 seats because there’s a sweet spot for the number of seats you have to have.
Derrick Wood: And I know this is probably a little bit more detailed, but this theater that they’re going to build here probably can only hold 15. So they’re willing to take a loss per ticket, right? Just to get the space in there that we can have it. So they can have the gaming space as well as the restaurant space. And we’re looking to have anywhere from seven to nine restaurants in this place. Fine dining, there’s going to be a sports bar type of thing in there. It may be like a food hall type of concept in there. Because food halls are now the new trendy type thing, but it’d be more of a upscale type food hall.
Derrick Wood: On the outside of that property. You’re looking at a multi-tiered parking deck. And the purpose of the parking deck is one, you need parking. And then two there’s a trailer park called Grayson Village that’s been there for years. It’s not going anywhere. But the developer considered based on our staff recommendation to put the parking garage there. On their original designs, it was on the other side, but we figure, how can we protect the noise and the light pollution from going over to that community?
ST Billingsley: So you’re actually building like a buffer in between there. So you’re not losing affordable housing they’re in Dumfries.
Derrick Wood: Yeah. I mean a lot of the people over there, some of them own a lot of those trailers and some people are renting trailers that’s coming in. I think it was a 60/40 mix of who owns and holds rent and then coming in over there. And so that was a great. The other biggest, I think challenge that we all had to overcome was looking at the traffic, right. Traffic and environmental. Those were the concerns that were recurring. Yeah. It’s funny because as you talk about traffic, I go past and I drive past the Chick-fil-A almost every day. And I know that nobody complains about the amount of traffic that comes in and out of a Chick-fil-A. As a matter of fact, they have to have offices now that actually facilitate traffic going in and out of there.
ST Billingsley: So you’re telling me the story about where even we’re just looking at the existing Rosie’s.
Derrick Wood: Yeah.
ST Billingsley: And that parking lot, they are, we’ll talk about the amount of traffic coming in. What was your experience when you were able to actually talk to somebody about that?
Derrick Wood: Yeah, so it was a man, he said “Mayor, I sat there and I watched traffic come in and out of McDonald’s and it was more traffic come in and out of the McDonald’s that it was that Rosie’s”. And so it’s just an interesting concept because even when we built the first Rosie’s, that was a concern, the traffic. And the truth of the matter is when we have our rush hour traffic and people are going and going to work and coming from work, those aren’t the same peak hours of people that have visited these facilities.
Derrick Wood: People have visited these facilities more late night, early morning type of situation, where you just don’t run into all the traffic issues and concerns. One of the things that everyone has been talking, of course, we’ve been working with the developers as well as our staff with VDOT, as far as on the traffic, department of transportation and also communicating with the transportation over in Prince William County and looking at how can the 234 route 1 corridor be more effective.
Derrick Wood: Now, currently the way it is we’re way behind schedule when this should have all been developed. Potomac Shores Parkway, you all covered that some years ago when they came and did a presentation at our council meeting, that project should have been started, but it hasn’t started. I’m pretty sure that the two developers that come together and come to a happy medium to figure out what we could do to expedite that project.
Derrick Wood: I know that the people who live in Potomac Shores now have been asking for years, I’ve been to many transportation meetings. When is this project going to get started? So I’m happy that we have a developer now that can come in and really help facilitate the challenges of that intersection. But I got a caution because one of the things that we don’t want to see, is we don’t want to see our stagecoach road get cul-de-sac to any incoming traffic, right? Because you will really kill all industrial development. You will hurt all the businesses that we have down there, because you would starve them out of there. And our concern in our town is really how can we continue to facilitate and bring business to those people that’s there.
ST Billingsley: [inaudible 00:08:01] With the new Rosie’s coming in, actually be able to bring… actually start becoming a destination, the road… Potomac Shores Parkway gets put in when that finally gets all developed. So the Dumfries actually starts becoming more of a destination place, not just a try to drive through it, to get to Stafford.
Derrick Wood: No. And you know, it’s funny. Cause when I first ran for council back in 2012 my campaign slogan was Re-discover Dumfries. And it was a matter of looking at the rich history and the culture of Dumfries and what was happening there at that time, Wegmans had started thriving and they would really start to work on the rest of that development. Stafford was building up all these towns cities, right at 610, and here it is, Dumfries was in the middle. And I felt like we was getting passed over. And to me, I couldn’t understand why is Stafford getting developed. Why is Woodbridge getting developed? But why has Dumfries…
ST Billingsley: Or even that, it’s like you’re really looking at, it’s like, everything’s getting developed over at Manassas and Gainesville. This side is actually getting basically ignored.
Derrick Wood: Yeah. We were left out. And so it was a matter of… I come from… My background is in hospitality. Is in business administration. And I have a master’s in business. And so I looked at it from… Scraped opportunity, almost felt like somebody that comes and see the route one corridor… I saw a potential opportunity. Right? Because you, you don’t see what’s there. You see what you’ve been programmed to see. You know, most people see things as it is. I see things as they could be. And I was like, man, my mission statement from the time I got elected was I’m going to make… I’m going to help make Dumfries a destination place that people from all over D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, don’t just drive through, but they’re going to drive to and I remember creating parks and recs and one of the slogans up there was Come Play in Dumfries, Come Stay in Dumfries.
Derrick Wood: And so this is a kind of like when you have a vision it’s almost like the secret, the law of attraction, everything, all the resources, everything you need for that vision to come to play, it just starts to align itself. And so when this came to play, you start to see what’s happening in Dumfries. You see what’s happening in Potomac Shores. So not only the town that Dumfries, but Dumfries as a whole is now becoming, we got the Jack Nicholson golf course. You got the VRE that’s being built.
Derrick Wood: We just approved last year. A lot of people didn’t even see this. We updated our comprehensive plan, which outlines what we want the main street to look like. Like we actually have built the infrastructure and the foundation for what downtown Dumfries is going to look like. And so, now we can go out and just really go out hard and looking for the type of businesses that’s going to be able to fit and match our down street.
ST Billingsley: So when you’re talking about the infrastructure of Dumfries, maybe not even just the roads and that type of thing, but kind of going back to the Rosie’s part here, what are some of the benefits to the town that you’ve been able to do for say employees or police officers or whatever, because of actually having that income coming in now?
Derrick Wood: I mean, that’s a great question. Rosie’s came in during the pandemic and opened up. They were a little behind schedule because of the pandemic. We budgeted in them that we were going to generate probably an extra half a million in revenue. So in talking to our town manager and just his insight on it, he said, “Mayor, how do you feel about us in the budget, giving this revenue to, to the staff”. We have 14 police officers that we were funded for. So how are we going to give it to them in the form of benefit package? And so what we were able to do was give all of our staff, because one of the reasons why we would lose people is because some are young officers who have families to take care of. And they couldn’t afford the insurance. Some of our people had different illnesses or ailments and they couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket.
Derrick Wood: So we say, what would be a great idea? Let’s pay their full benefits package. Let’s pay for their medical and their dental. And what we also did is we raised the starting salary for our police recruits to $60,000, which makes us the most competitive in Northern Virginia. So we were able to get fully staffed in our police department, bring in our permanent police chief now, and to really get us really focused in the community.
Derrick Wood: And on top of that still maintain… We’re the top 10 rated for being one of the top 10 safest towns in the state of Virginia, according to Safe Wise. So we’re always excited about that and those are some of the resources we were able to do as a result of just the initial revenue. You know, now this new Rose project, cause it’s no longer be Rose, is going to be called The Rose. The hotel is going to be beautiful. What are we going to be able to do is bring in over 600 jobs. We’re going to bring in, we’re going to two X our budget to 10 plus million. That’s going to come in off of this project. And on top of that Prince William County as a whole get an extra $7 million from the town of Dumfries, that they will have the opportunity to reinvest in the town of Dumfries.
ST Billingsley: Let’s see if they actually re-invest it. We’ll see. We’ll have to follow that part. [crosstalk 00:13:22] So not only with that, then you have all the other businesses that either come in because of Rosie’s or, as the roads are getting redone and the Parkway comes in for Potomac Shores, Rosie’s there, the convention center now other businesses actually want to come in and help develop the area and you can bring in some more money to them for us.
Derrick Wood: Yeah, absolutely. I mean we got a couple of national headquarter companies that’s in the town of Dumfries. Part of Dumfries is still in the HUBZone. So for the government district, for those who said to say to the town address, we have a town hall building that’s fully… Almost a building that we purchased that really saved the community $6 million because of what it was going to cost us to build a brand new town hall. And that building is now fully cashflow positive. And we have a property management company that manages the day-to-day on that building alone. So we don’t have to have extra staff, people to really take care of that. And so we’ve really been very self sufficient in the growth and development and the businesses that are coming. Hopefully we start to really bring in some retail. A lot of people are asking for like a fresh food, like farmer’s market, whole foods type of thing.
Derrick Wood: And so we’re aggressively, I’m going to look at some conferences maybe in the next year or two where maybe I could go out as an ambassador and try to talk to some of these retailers about why the town of Dumfries is a place they want to relocate. So that’s kind of like the goal now is just to really go out and I feel there’s a great responsibility as the chief ambassador for the town to be able to represent us and to go out and to tell folks why they shouldn’t just drive through Dumfries, but why they need to drive to Dumfries.
ST Billingsley: That’s right. Well, I’ll tell you what, glad to see that things are looking better for Dumfries and move it forward. I know you put a lot of work into it and I’m sure it’s more than a eight or ten hour day taking care of a Dumfries there. But anyway, I just want to say thank you very much for coming in today and we’ll have you back to talk about another part going on there that we have it in Dumfries here soon.
Derrick Wood: Yeah. If y’all have a subscribed to this channel, make sure y’all get that notification so that y’all, don’t miss none of these videos when they come out, because you want to tune in subscribe, like and matter of fact, tag two friends so they can see this too.
ST Billingsley: Thank you. So thank you for joining us with, with us, for What’s Up Prince William.
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