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Tribe to move headquarters closer to members

Courtesy of Coldwell Banker Commercial

This Chapel Hill office complex is one of six contiguous properties purchased by the Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians this week — destined to house its tribal government.


OAKHURST — The Picayune Rancheria of Chukchansi Indians announced Tuesday its purchase of six “contiguous” properties in Oakhurst to house its tribal government, including health care, education and housing agencies.

A new 4.51 acre tribal center at 49260 Chapel Hill Drive will replace the tribe’s current tribal office in north Fresno on Palm Avenue, with all existing agencies being transferred to the new mixed use site in the “near future.”

The Chapel Hill address in the center of Oakhurst, a half mile from State Route 41, currently houses accountants and an attorney in a three-story office complex, according to Google Maps and real estate listings. Vacant lots and a permanently closed Madera County Probation Department office fill the rest of the block, and likely are the other acquired properties.

The total sales price for those six properties would be $1.9 million, according to Mark Smith of the Sierra Star.

“For some time, we have wanted to relocate our headquarters closer to our tribal members and the Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino,” said Tribal Chairwoman Claudia Gonzales. “We are glad to be home in Aposau, the original name of Oakhurst.”

The former telephone number for the tribal government office in Fresno was no longer in service Tuesday evening, suggesting preparations for the move were already in progress.

“Just like 2016, 2017 is starting out as a positive year for our tribe and for the people in Madera,” said Gonzales. “Yesterday we broke ground on a new fuel station, an important economic driver for the tribe and the greater community.”

The tribe opened a gas station and retail service center Monday in neighboring Coarsegold, not far from Chukchansi Gold Resort and Casino. Located on tribal land, the station and center will be exempt from state or federal taxes. Without fuel taxes, the tribal gas station could potentially undercut the price charged by area competitors by as much as 48 cents per gallon of gasoline, according to the California Board of Equalization. A lack of state and Madera County sales taxes (about 8 percent) could widen the price gap further.

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