Eastern Cherokees urged to bring more retail options to casino

The Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort in Cherokee, North Carolina. Photo from Facebook

Leaders of Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina are considering a retail development plan in an effort to diversify beyond their successful gaming enterprise.

Chief Patrick Lambert has been in talks with the Cordish Companies, whose top executive visited the reservation last week, regarding potential options. One idea could be an outlet mall at the tribe's flagship Harrah's Cherokee Casino Resort.

"For the past several weeks, I have been in talks with David Cordish of the Cordish Company," Lambert said at a June 7 meeting, The One Feather reported. "Along with Tribal Council, we share a vision that Cherokee can and should grow its retail, food, and entertainment venues that serve not only tourist but locals as well."

Tribal leaders welcomed the possibility of shopping closer to home, the paper reported. One council member said reservation residents often travel to Asheville, about 50 miles away, to spend their money.

"If we can get these outlets here, it will only open up more opportunities to capture other types of businesses to come to Cherokee. It will create jobs for our enroll members. It makes us more of an anchor," Richard French, another council member, told the paper.

The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation of Connecticut opened an outlet mall at its casino in May 2015. The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians in California has long operated an outlet mall and even added gaming there in April 2014.

The Cordish Companies is one of the largest developers of lifestyle, outlet and community shopping centers in the United States, according to its website. The firm worked with the Seminole Tribe on casino projects in Florida and operates a commercial gaming facility in Maryland.

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EBCI tribal leadership explores retail development (The Cherokee One Feather 6/13)

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