Cocopah Tribe purchases former Kmart building

SOMERTON, Ariz. - An Indian tribe continues to increase its financial holdings as it purchased a 190,000-square-foot building located in a rapidly developing area in Somerton.

The 1,000-member Cocopah Indian Tribe finalized the deal for the former Kmart building May 15 for $9 million, said the tribe;s communications director, Liz Pratt. The building was reportedly the largest Kmart store in the nation when it opened in November 1993.

Pratt said the newly sworn-in tribal council was still entertaining proposals on the use of the building, located about three miles from the Cocopah reservation. But she said it was expected to fit in the tribe's economic model.

''The tribe knows it's an important investment, so it is reviewing all the proposals carefully before deciding what to do with it,'' Pratt said.

The tribe already operates several businesses, including a 475-slot casino, 18-hole golf course, RV resort, gas station and convenience store. It is currently remodeling its old casino into a new

conference center and resort.