ST. PAUL, MN—The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe has hired Graves Hospitality Corp. to take over the management and redevelopment of two hotels here, the Crowne Plaza St. Paul Riverfront Hotel at 11 Kellogg Blvd. East, and the DoubleTree St. Paul Downtown Hotel at 411 Minnesota Street.

The band purchased the hotels for $37 million as part of an investment diversification mission. The acquisition of these two hotels comprises nearly half of the hotel rooms in downtown St. Paul. Significant upgrades will be made to both properties in the coming months, in accordance with the property improvement plans (PIPs) issued by each franchise.

Ben Graves, president of Graves, has worked closely with Joseph Nayquonabe Jr., commissioner of Corporate Affairs for the band, to identify hotel properties with significant investment potential. “For over 20 years, gaming has been the primary economic development tool for the Mille Lacs Band, and it has been very good for us, but the time has come to use the significant expertise we've developed in the hospitality sector to create new opportunities to diversify and grow our economic footprint beyond casinos, and beyond our own community," Nayquonabe, Jr. says in a statement.