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Suquamish Tribe buys village square complex

SUQUAMISH — The Suquamish Tribe has taken another step forward in acquiring ownership of its tribal lands while at the same time, providing for the community.

The tribe is now managing the Suquamish Village Square property on Suquamish Way.

The Suquamish purchased the complex from the Solheim Family Trust in August. The square was originally built in 1988 by the late Karsten Solheim, founder of Ping, Inc., the Phoenix-based golf club manufacturer. A Washington native, Solheim built the square as an investment in the town of Suquamish, where he and his wife were married in 1936.

Suquamish tribal officials said there were several reasons for making the purchase. Besides acquiring additional reservation lands, the tribe is attempting to expand its economic base and decrease its reliance on gaming facilities as a source of revenue..

“The Suquamish Tribe seeks to expand business opportunities for tribal and non-tribal people of Suquamish and the North Kitsap area by professionally managing Suquamish Village Square,” said the tribe’s Executive Director Wayne George.

The tribe will be negotiating new leases with current tenants and seeking new tenants to fill vacant retail and office space, George said.

“We hope that through training programs offered by the tribe, we can expand the number of tribal member-owned businesses on the Port Madison Indian Reservation,” said Suquamish Tribe’s Economic Development Director Chuck Deam.

While the tribe manages the property, Port Madison Enterprises, its economic branch, currently operates the Texaco gas station and mini-mart at the square. PME also oversees the Suquamish Clearwater Casino and the Masi Shop on State Route 305.

Tribal officials aren’t sure what type of businesses they would like to see go in the property but they are seeking various types of tenants, George said.

Besides the Texaco and mini mart, other businesses currently in the square include West Sound Academy, a dog groomer, a hair salon, an attorney and the tribe’s early childhood learning center. There may be some tribal government offices that are relocated there as well, George said.

“We’re pretty much open to any ideas,” George commented.

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