Written by Yona Lucia
Journalist with a feather
Kodak, Tennessee – Next piece ready for Project 407: A gateway to adventure in Sevier County, Tennessee. Smoky Gap is the name of the new attraction on property owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. It is expected to be completed by 2025, and the official opening took place at the site on the morning of Tuesday, April 11th.
Kituwah, LLC was assigned to lead this project. 2023 is also a big year, with the long-awaited Buc-ee opening scheduled for the coming months. Smoky Gap marks the third major advance on this drug, with more to come next year.
This piece of the puzzle will be the basis of Kituwah’s international partnership with French entertainment company Puy du Fou. Cherokee One Feather detailed this partnership in a previous article[hyperlink]. EBCI is funding a $75 million project to create a unique and immersive experience that will detail stories from World War I.
It will be a world-class feature of the property, said Mark Hubble, CEO of Kituwah, LLC.
“The best experiences a tourist can have are unique. In a way they can’t see anywhere else. The technology and the ability to offer the things we were talking about. The taste of salt water on a trip across the Atlantic. However, this technology has not been It’s been around for 10 years. “Now you’ll be able to feel the waves as you go through them,” Hubble said.
While Puy du Fou will be the hub, the entire development is designed to bring a new experience to the area.
“We have letters of intent (LOIs) for approximately 100,000 square feet of retail space here. They’re all thematic. They look like things you can get elsewhere, but they’re not quite the same. They can achieve certain developmental things that are hard to find. The more Go ahead, the Smokies are the entertainment of the night. After 6 p.m., you’ll bring in a new demographic. Because you’re only 25 minutes from Knoxville, which is a college town.”
These thoughts were echoed by Robbie Fox, the mayor of Sevierville.
“I am pleased with what all this development will mean for the City of Sevierville and the region in terms of the recreational development it will provide for our visitors. It will also provide jobs for residents of Sevierville, Sevier County, and adjacent counties. This will generate tax money for the city of Sevierville…it will also generate tax money for the district, and we think that’s important too. It also gives visitors another reason to come here and spend an extra night. The Smoky Gap development will also provide the 407 District with an element of nightly entertainment, which the City of Sevierville does not currently provide,” said Mayor Fox.
Kituwah, LLC The primary partner on this 407 project is OE Experiences, a Knoxville-based company. Matthew Cross, CEO of OE Experiences, also spoke at the opening ceremony.
“In our work there is an abundance of ideas, concepts and visions. Most of them are unrealized. But 407 Gateway to Adventure is different. Looking around you, even today, you can see it’s real. Two years ago, we stood before you and explained the vision and plan for this property. Today that’s it.” We’ve talked about it. Today we’re revealing an important part of the 407 Gateway to Adventure. We’re opening Smoky Gap, a unique and exciting recreational area inside the 407. Where guests can dine, sleep, shop, and be entertained. This is where our main tenant, Puy du Fou , is developing its first website in the U.S. It promises to be an experience for the ages.
Chairman Richard G. Snead said the opportunity is another example of EBCI’s economic diversification.
“When I was first elected, my team and I, that was really the directive. We’re going to diversify the tribe’s income streams. I think when I took office, Chief Snead: ‘We moved mountains on this mountain as well, really.’ »
It’s not an easy task. I have to give the Tribal Council credit for all the different generators we’ve produced over the last six or seven years. This is more important than ever because the games are moving fast. In North Carolina, “sports betting surpassed the House of Representatives.” It will probably bear fruit this year. North Carolina is thinking very seriously about commercial games at the state level, which will undoubtedly affect our overall revenue. »
President Snead expressed his satisfaction with the work that Kituwah, LLC has done as a leader for this initiative. He said the tribal leaders are in constant touch with Kituwah, LLC, but they also need to be trusted to get the job done.
“The important thing is to be able to move faster than the government. We need to move at the speed of business, which is why it was imperative that we put the project on top of Kituwah, LLC,” the president said. sned.
Hubble said it was just the next step in a massive project. He also said that the next big chunk they want from the property will bring with them their new business partnership – Sports Illustrated Resorts. Kituwah, LLC announced this new $316 million investment earlier this year, and Hubble hopes to bring SI Resorts to Tennessee.
“We now know enough about how to build resorts and build condominiums and develop resorts — an entire community — that we can do it effectively and efficiently. It’s going to be a huge, massive resort with no upfront cost like you might see in a half-billion dollar resort.”
Smoky Gap is expected to open in 2025. Buc-ee hopes to cut the ribbon by June. Sports Illustrated Resorts may be on the horizon. The dominoes are starting to fall in Sevier County.