Mille Lacs Band Plans to Buy 2 Hotels in St. Paul
The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe announced Monday a deal to purchase two hotels in downtown St. Paul - a move that will include nearly half of the city's hotel rooms.
The hotels being bought are the Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront Hotel, 11 Kellogg Blvd., and the DoubleTree St. Paul Downtown Hotel, 411 Minnesota St.
Mille Lacs Band leaders say the deal is a step toward economic sufficiency by diversifying the tribal economy beyond gaming.
"In order to ensure our survival, we must compete more broadly in the American economy," said Melanie Benjamin, the band's chief executive. "And to do so requires us to diversify our investments."
Graves Hospitality Corp. will help manage the new hotels. Ben Graves, president of Graves, reportedly called the band "forward thinking."
As part of the plans, Mille Lacs Band will make several upgrades to the hotels in the coming months. The properties will have new food and beverage options, in addition a new street is in the works for the DoubleTree entrance on Minnesota Street.
The Mille Lacs Reservation is located in east central Minnesota, and has more than 2,300 of the band's 4,300 members living in the area.
Photo courtesy of the Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront Hotel.