DANVILLE, VA (WFXR) — Caesar’s casino in Danville has been open for more than a month now, drawing thousands to the temporary space in the southside. In just the first two weeks. City officials say it far exceeded their revenue expectations.
However, the temporary space is only a fraction of what’s coming next year, when the permanent location opens up. Bringing hundreds of jobs to the southside and a strain on the already tapped housing market.
City Manager, Ken Larking, says he has been hearing of an increase in cost of living from some residents, but adds that it could be due to the condition of the economy nationwide.
“The cost of living is increasing across the country, so it’s hard to know if the casino is driving what’s happening here in Danville,” said Larking.
He says one of the goals of the new Caesar’s casino is to bring more people to Danville both as tourists and as residents, many of whom will likely be employed by the casino.
While he says this could inevitably raise the cost of living, the hope would be that it would also boost the local economy as a whole.
“What we’re hoping is that all the new jobs that we are attracting to our community gives people that are in our communities and the surrounding area, opportunities to better themselves financially. so their households have more income, so they can afford a better house they can afford to move up to a larger house or if the costs are increasing for the house they’re living in, then it’s more affordable for them anyway,” said Larking.
Larking adds that another concern in the city is the current lack of available housing– which he credits partly to the fact that after the 2008 housing crash, very few new homes were being built.
Debra Fugato with the “Dan River Region Association of Realtors” says as the city grows with the development of new attractions, like the casino, there will inevitably be more people. Which means the city needs more places for people to live, making the available housing more expensive.
“Someone that was paying 500 dollars a month for rent, now easily, for that same house, could be put at1000 to1300 dollars just for rent,” said Fugate.
She adds that overall, the hike in costs is a positive indicator of growth in the city, but encourages people to speak with local realtors if they have questions or concerns about housing.
“We are in a transition time here in Danville, and we wanted it to grow, so it’s growing,” said Fugate.
The city of Danville does have resources if you are struggling to find or afford housing, more information can be found on the city of Danville website.