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Tribe invests in Bismarck hotel project
29 April 2013

BISMARCK (UTN) The Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara (MHA) Nation is the lead investor in new hotel project planned for Bismarck.

The tribe, headquartered at Four Bears, ND, has provided the equity commitment necessary to proceed with development and construction of a hotel on the campus of United Tribes Technical College.

The United Tribes of North Dakota Board of Directors approved the financing structure March 26, accepting the equity investment of the MHA Nation in a facility estimated to cost approximately $33 million. MHA Nation is one of the college's five governing tribes.

"The MHA Nation feels it's a good opportunity to be involved with a franchise name-brand hotel on the UTTC campus," said Tex G. Hall, MHA Nation chairman. "And with UTTC near the Bismarck airport, it makes great business sense. It's the kind of investment the tribe is looking for."

Other tribal investors are also being invited in, said David M. Gipp, United Tribes Technical College president. "It's open to other area investors too, although we're looking to create a program funded primarily by Native or Tribal investors."

AIRPORT LOCATION

The hotel site is located in the northwest corner of the United Tribes campus, just off University Drive adjacent to the Bismarck International Airport.

"The energy boom offers a good opportunity to serve travelers coming into the area by air," said Gipp. "Our location is ideal for meetings and conferences and convenient for corporate and leisure travelers alike."

As planned, the six-story hotel will contain 160 rooms with a 10,000 square foot conference center, restaurant, business center, fitness center, pool, gift shop, and other state-of-the-art amenities for meetings and conferences.

DEVELOPMENT TEAM

The development is led by All Nations Development Alliance, Mortenson Development and Thor Construction. The three were selected by the college in fall 2012 to lead the development, design, financing and construction.

"Together, this team brings a unique blend of Native American hospitality development and construction experience," said Mark Sweet, Managing Director of All Nations Development Alliance. "The equity commitment by the MHA Nation represents the final piece of the puzzle, allowing the team to target a summer groundbreaking." Leo A. Daly has been selected as architect and Dougherty Funding will be structuring the overall project financing.

TRAINING & EDUCATION

The hotel will be affiliated with a major chain. Operations will include an educational component for United Tribes college students. Training will focus on hotel management, business administration, security, and food service, said Gipp.

"In the long term we see this as a revenue source to help support the college," he said. "That is one of our primary motives, along with training and education."

Groundbreaking is expected as early as July with completion in summer 2014.

United Tribes is governed by the federally recognized tribes in North Dakota: Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, Spirit Lake Tribe, Standing Rock Tribe, Mandan/Hidatsa/Arikara Nation, and Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

For more information please contact Tiffany Hodge 701-255-3285 x 1482, thodge@uttc.edu.

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