Fresno Indian tribe bets on new mall for income

The Chukchansi Indians plan to open a commercial complex at the entrance to the tribe's casino next summer that will include a gas station offering steeply discounted gas -- the first such operation in the Valley.

The $5 million development also will include a smoke shop and other stores and restaurants. Construction is to begin on the 25,000-square-foot Chukchansi Crossing project next month on reservation land at the corner of Highway 41 and Lucky Lane, the road leading to the Chukchansi Gold Resort-Casino in Coarsegold.

The Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indian tribe will use its sovereign status to save money on gas, avoiding state fuel and sales taxes that add up to more than 35 cents per gallon.

Because it must purchase gas from an Indian-owned wholesaler, which often charges more than nontribal wholesalers, the savings to consumers will be about 20 cents per gallon off retail prices, tribal officials said. Tobacco products will have similar discounts at the planned smoke shop.

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