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Mille Lacs Band buying two of St. Paul's biggest hotels

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The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe is buying two downtown St. Paul hotels. The purchases were announced by the tribe's chief executive, Melanie Benjamin, during her State of the Band address Tuesday.

Benjamin did not identify the hotels, but according to multiple reports they are the Crowne Plaza and the DoubleTree by Hilton, which together have nearly half of downtown St. Paul's hotel rooms.

Another band executive told the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal that Graves Hospitality will manage the properties. Benjamin pointed to the purchase as evidence that the band is diversifying its economy beyond casino revenue.

The Brainerd Dispatch reports Benjamin made self-sufficiency a theme of her address to 1,200 band members, and said a more diverse economy was a key to that.

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