H&LA Development Update: Williamsburg, Virginia

Our recent research for a project in Williamsburg, Virginia revealed some exciting new hospitality-related developments happening in the area. These developments will have an impact on tourism, employment, and the general economy in Williamsburg and the surrounding areas in 2024 and beyond.

  • A new Historic Triangle Indoor Sports Complex is planned for a site near the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor Center that will benefit the entire region by attracting youth and amateur sports tournaments to the area. The complex will have at least 160,000 square feet of indoor court space capable of holding up to 12 basketball courts, 24 volleyball courts, or 36 pickleball courts. The company selected to develop this project, MEB General Contractors of Virginia Beach, has also proposed a 53,000-square-foot multipurpose venue with an indoor auditorium and an outdoor amphitheater. The sports complex represents a total investment of about $80 million, and the entertainment venue will have a development cost of $33 million. Groundbreaking on both of these projects is expected to occur in 2024.
  • In 2023, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation broke ground on the new Colin G. and Nancy N. Campbell Archaeology Center. Scheduled to open in 2025, this new building will provide guests a window into the organization’s current archaeological projects, as well as access to millions of artifacts that make up its collection. The Archaeology Center is one of the Foundation’s key projects leading up to the nation’s 250th anniversary in 2026. Other elements will include the Williamsburg Bray School, slated to open in September 2024, and the First Baptist Church and Custis Square Gardens, which are scheduled to open 2026.
  • A new ride called the DarKoaster opened at the Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park in May 2023. Located near the Germany area, this family-friendly dark ride is now the first all-indoor straddle coaster in North America. The 2,454-foot-long ride features four accelerating launches and reaches speeds of up to 36 miles per hour.
  • In June 2023, Water Country USA in Williamsburg debuted a new dueling pipeline attraction called Riptide Race. This new thrill ride begins atop a 54-foot-tall tower and pits teams of raft riders against each other in a race down 520 feet of low-walled waterslide.
  • In 2023, Princess Cruises announced that it would begin voyages to Virginia’s Historic Triangle in the summer of 2024. The cruise line is planning a total of five visits to the area on two ships departing from ports in Boston and New York City, each of which will carry between 2,000 and 3,000 passengers. These ships will dock in Yorktown; from there, passengers will explore the various historic sites, bringing an influx of business for local retailers, restaurants, and attractions.
  • A major rehabilitation project is underway on Colonial Parkway, the main road leading into Colonial National Historical Park. This $122 million project will repair about 10 miles of the roadway within the park, including 10 bridges and the Williamsburg Tunnel. This project will improve the appearance of this main road and improve safety conditions for motorists visiting the area.
  • A new $500 million casino resort is planned for a site along the Elizabeth River in Norfolk. Approved by voters in November 2020, the Headwaters Resort & Casino will include a 45,000-square-foot gaming floor, 3,000 slot machines, 150 table games, a sports bar, multiple restaurants, a 300-room hotel, and a 2,500-seat entertainment venue. While construction on this project had not yet begun as of our research date; the property is expected to be completed by the end of 2026.