With plans for a casino in motion, sights turn toward investments in Bristol real estate


BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – Less than a week after Bristol voted yes to bringing a casino, people are already hoping to cash in around the property.

“It will do more than anything I’ve seen in the last decade to increase the name value of the Tri-Cities, especially Bristol,” Housing Data Consultant Don Fenley said. “The casino is going to create some significant economic increases and that will be the bigger determinant of property value- both residential and commercial.”

Debbie Evans is one of those people on the market for some property near the future casino for short-term renting like AirBnB. She already owns several short-term rental properties near Abingdon and is now setting her sights on Bristol.

“With the coming of the casino here- I was thinking there would be a lot of opportunity for me to buy some new properties and invest and create some AirBnb packages here as well,” she said. “You’ve got to be prepared, you’ve got to be ready for whatever’s going to come.”

While The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Bristol is not expected to fully open for two years, some real estate agents say if you’re looking to buy near the property, now is the time.

Gavin Leonard at Century 21 Diamond in Abingdon expects the property and home value in the area surrounding the site to increase by about 10% as it’s built out.

“We need to get started now because when the casino does come in- the prices are going to be high so you’re going to be glad that you bought right now when it comes,” Leonard said. “The houses around here will increase in Bristol, southwest Virginia and in Tennessee. I think it will have a positive effect not only in Bristol.”

And if you’re looking to sell your property near the site- Leonard says now is also the time to put your house or property on the market.

“We have a lot of buyers but not enough listings,” Leonard said. “[I hope] that we get more listings, people want to get out and sell their houses.”

Fenley says Bristol has seen strong development in apartment complexes but he hopes the need for long-term housing will bring neighborhoods.

“[Bristol] hasn’t seen the same activity of subdivision development as the rest of the region has,” Fenley said. “[The hotel and casino] will also represent some population growth- something our area hasn’t seen much of in the last decade.”

Fenley said the impact is expected to go beyond housing and property prices.

“It’s going to increase economic activity, that within itself with have a direct effect on the type of businesses and commercial values,” he said. “[Those] within a five-mile radius of the casino for commercial properties will probably have the most localized effect.”

Hard Rock plans to conduct a study on surrounding roads along with Gate City Highway to determine what will be needed to keep traffic moving smoothly.

“The resort will bring thousands of new jobs and pump millions of dollars annually into Bristol’s economy. As more local residents get jobs and stable, long-term career opportunities with the resort, as employees or vendors, every sector of our regional economy will benefit, including the real estate market.”

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Bristol spokesperson

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