In February the U.S. Department of the Interior took the 36 acres that the Wilton tribe bought into a trust that makes the property tribal sovereign ground. They intend to build a casino on the site of the mall that was never completed.
The Wilton Rancheria and its 700 members were given official federal recognition as a tribe in 2009 after having been disbanded in 1959.
Now they have partnered with Boyd Gaming of Las Vegas to build a $400 million casino, hotel, and convention center which they claim will employ 2,000 people.
Contention over the site is not over yet, as there are legal claims that the property is still encumbered by the city of Elk Grove’s previous agreement with the previous developer.
Before the casino can be built, the tribe must negotiate a gambling pact with the state, in addition to clearing up any issues regarding the land. The tribe expects a three- to five-year period before the casino could open.