Wilton Rancheria chair said mall site a possibility
By Bryan M. Gold - Citizen Staff Writer
Published: Thursday, March 7, 2013 12:19 PM PST
Elk Grove Citizen
The leader of the Wilton Rancheria tribe said the Elk Grove Promenade Mall site could be an option for a future casino if their proposal to build one four miles south of Elk Grove falls through.
Tribal Chair Andrew Franklin said plans are to build a complex that includes a casino, hotel, and his tribe’s headquarters south of Arno Road near Galt. He presented the idea to the Galt City Council on March 5.
He said the tribe earlier considered building a casino on a much smaller site in Wilton, and just outside the Elk Grove city government’s sphere of influence. But the opportunity came along to explore the Arno Road site that lies west of Highway 99.
The tribe doesn’t own either property but they are looking at purchasing the proposed site near the Hicksville Cemetery on Arno Road.
“We’re fortunate enough to find a site close to our burial grounds,” Franklin said.
Franklin said that the casino could provide about 2,000 full-time jobs. There are about 360 adult members of the tribe, so even if all of them worked at the casino, he said that about 82 percent of the jobs would go to people outside of the tribe.
The tribal chair said there are alternatives if the project doesn’t come to fruition at the currently proposed site. The tribe could revisit building on the property on Wilton Road. Franklin mentioned he was approached by Isleton city officials to consider placing a casino at the Delta.
Franklin, who said the tribe would continue to develop relationships with local government officials, added that he is in regular contact with Elk Grove Mayor Gary Davis regarding the partially built mall site.
“It’s important to this tribe to build those relationships, Galt more so because of the proximity of the property,” he said. “We want to work with other communities and local governments as regional partners. So we’ll definitely still work with Mayor Davis.”
Davis could not be reached for comment as of press time.
The tribe as well as Elk Grove and Sacramento County officials have a memorandum of understanding for the property in Wilton with respect to how traffic could affect city and county facilities.
City spokesperson Christine Brainerd said the document would not apply to Elk Grove if the tribe goes forward with development at Arno Road.
Sacramento County Supervisor Don Nottoli, whose district includes Elk Grove, said county officials are waiting until the tribe moves further into the process before commenting on the proposed project at the Arno Road property.
However, Nottoli said it makes more sense to move the project from Wilton to be closer to Highway 99 where services are more readily available.
“From that perspective, that location is preferable to others that might be proposed in the county,” Nottoli said via telephone before the council meeting and before Franklin noted his communication with Davis.
The mall site is owned by The Howard Hughes Corporation (HHC), which still plans to develop the long-delayed mall.
“We continue to make plans for the development of the property, and it is an important project for the company,” Caryn Statman Kboudi, HHC’s vice president of marketing, told the Citizen on March 6. “As soon as we have more definitive plans regarding the project and the timeline, we will be sure to share them.”
However, a letter to HHC shareholders from Chief Executive Officer David R. Weinreb sent earlier this month touted several company projects in places including Texas, Maryland, Las Vegas, and Honolulu, but did not mention Elk Grove.