He 870-member band of the Mdewakanton Sioux, paid $4.4 million for the land, tribal council President Shelley Buck said.
It is the tribe’s first purchase of real estate in the metro Twin Cities.
The L-shaped parcel is northeast of Interstate 94 and Manning Avenue in West Lakeland Township, bordering Lake Elmo and Woodbury.
“I can’t speculate what is going to go there,” Buck said. The state would not allow us to put one there.” According to the Washington County assessor’s office, a group called Four Sisters LLC bought the land in June 2015.
Buck confirmed Friday that Four Sisters is an investment company owned by the tribe.
Buck said the purchase price — $40,000 an acre — is typical of what nearby land is selling for.
Buck also denied recent rumors the tribe was buying Tartan Park, the 426-acre golf course owned by the 3M Co.
The company closed the course in December and has put it up for sale. The tribe owns Treasure Island and Mount Frontenac Golf Course, both in Red Wing. With the land purchase, Buck said, the tribe is diversifying its investments. It is possible — eventually — for Indian tribes to build casinos on land away from their reservations, according to Sarah Crawford, Intergovernmental Affairs Liaison with the federal National Indian Gaming Commission. A tribe must buy land, then have it legally designated as a certain type of trust.
This can be done by Congress, the courts or the Interior Department. The tribe then may operate a lower-level Class 2 gaming operation on the land, with games such as pull-tabs and bingo.
For a full-fledged casino with blackjack and slot machines, a Class 3 designation is needed.
That requires approval by the state — and more delays.
Buck said that isn’t likely to happen on the 112-acre parcel because of opposition from local and state governments.