SEVIERVILLE, TENN. – November 10, 2020 – The first phase of a 200-acre mixed-use development at Sevierville’s Exit 407 will be a nostalgic throwback district based on the American road trip and classic iconography reminiscent of the legendary Route 66. The announcement was made as developers broke ground at the site today to commence construction.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) plans to develop the “experiential destination” as a gateway and “first stop” for more than 11 million tourists who travel through Sevier County to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park every year.
Organizers currently refer to Phase One as the “Roadside District,” but stress that it is a working name only – not the official name of the development. The area will feature themed entertainment attractions and venues, dining options, and unique shopping experiences that fit a multi-generational great American roadtrip theme. While no featured attractions, restaurants or retail stores were announced or named today, developers said there will be a combination of “nationally known and recognized brands and unique, local businesses” sharing the spotlight. The property will also feature landmark icons that will serve as eye-catchers for interstate travelers, and moments for family poses and lighthearted fun.
The land, purchased last year for $13.5 million, represents a major project for the business development entity known as Kituwah, LLC, which owns the land. The land is located between the major metropolitan areas of Knoxville, Tenn. and Asheville, NC just off Interstate 40 at the Sevierville exit.
Chief Richard Sneed of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians said, “The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is proud to partner with the elected officials and residents of TN on this exciting new opportunity. Working together, we are uniquely poised to bring an experience not currently seen in Eastern TN, providing an additional source for employment and tourism to the region. I look forward to continuing our work to build upon this relationship through this venture and future opportunities.”
Kituwah CEO Mark Hubble, who has helped other tribes nationally build tribal-owned businesses for the benefit of enrolled members, sees this development as a rare opportunity. “This land is strategically located and has the benefit of significant infrastructure investment from prior development attempts,” Hubble said.
“The City of Sevierville is excited about the development being proposed by EBCI,” said City of Sevierville Mayor Robbie Fox. “The City has long recognized the potential of this property and we are encouraged by the vision that Kituwah has for this location. This will be a landmark project for Sevierville and Sevier County.”
OE Experiences, a local development consulting firm, has been retained to identify the highest and best use of the property and to seek out development partners. Matthew Cross, of OE Experiences explained, “It has been just two months since we first announced this development. Our goal was to identify a concept plan that would resonate with this market. We continue to receive valuable feedback as this project becomes reality, and as we plan future phases of the project.”
Chrissy Arch, Chair of the Kituwah Economic Development Board said, “We are moving quickly in plan development and key tenant acquisition.”
OE Experiences is currently collecting bids and proposals from interested parties to co-develop portions of the site. SIG Real Estate’s Keith Widmer is acting as broker on the development and accepting applications for lease.