SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. – April 11, 2023 – Kituwah, LLC began development of “Smoky Gap” today, a unique entertainment district located within The 407: Gateway to Adventure in Sevierville. Smoky Gap will be the first of several phases of development and is expected to open in 2025.
The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are funding the project through its business development entity, Kituwah LLC. The funding packages for the development are all allocated for The 407’s infrastructure, joint ventures, Tribal businesses and Smoky Gap. Joseph Construction serves as Construction Manager of the multi-million-dollar project.
The unique entertainment district will be home to major international attractions, restaurants, retail stores, and much more. Set as an entertainment district in the early 1900s, Smoky Gap centers around a Main Street with Americana-themed storefronts and a large clocktower. A future attraction, to be announced at a later date, will anchor Smoky Gap with a world-class experiential facility.
The 407: Gateway to Adventure is being developed according to a timeline that includes:
- Property Grand Opening
- The World’s Largest Buc-ee’s opening in Summer 2023
Phase 1: An entertainment, dining and shopping destination
- Marriott Courtyard opening in 2025
- Smoky Gap, the entertainment, dining and retail district opening in 2025
- TBD attraction, which will anchor Smoky Gap, opening in 2025
Phase 2: An overnight destination with a premier resort
- A destination resort opening as part of Phase 2, which is designed to elevate The 407: Gateway to Adventure into an overnight world-class destination.
“This will be an experience for the ages,” said Chris McCoy, President of Kituwah Marketing. “We are committed to delivering unparalleled entertainment, breathtaking experiences, fine dining, and the best shopping in the Smokies. People will be able to stop for a few hours or stay for a few days.”
“Smoky Gap is a platform for partnership,” said Mark Hubble, CEO of Kituwah LLC. “This entertainment district is where the Tribe is establishing long-term, mutually-rewarding partnerships with the companies and brands that will make up The 407: Gateway to Adventure a one-of-a-kind destination. Our tenants will operate alongside tribally owned businesses that will contribute to an overall destination guests must experience at the start of their Smoky Mountain vacation.”
Kituwah, LLC is the development arm of Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) which owns the property. Knoxville-based OE Experiences serves as co-development partner for Kituwah, LLC.
“The 407: Gateway to Adventure is a testimony to partnership,” said Matthew Cross, Founding Partner and CEO of OE Experiences. “The vision of Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians – combined with the strategy we have created – and forward-thinking tenants and partners has created a reality where others have only had concepts.”
“OE Experiences and Kituwa are partners working toward a common goal where we provide the experience development expertise and they deliver the tribal development and investment components. This spirit of partnership drives everything we do here, and our valued business partners and new tenants know it is the primary reason this development is and will remain wildly successful.”
McCoy added, “This development – The 407: Gateway to Adventure and specifically the Smoky Gap district – will raise the bar for the entire Smoky Mountain tourism market. Tenants at Smoky Gap will be a part of a destination featuring tribal businesses with global brands all contributing to a market-defining attraction.”
Smoky Gap is a 20-acre district in the massive 200-acre development located at the primary Tennessee entrance to the great Smoky Mountains National Park, Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg. The Great Smoky Mountains is America’s most-visited national park with approximately 14 million visitors every year. Buc-ee’s Travel Center will be the first business to open in The 407: Gateway to Adventure.