SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. — The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) released the initial designs for the first phase of a large 200-acre mixed-use development off Interstate 40's 407 exit to Sevierville.
Kituwah LLC, a Native American owned and operated company that purchased the land for the project, announced Tuesday developers broke ground to start construction.
The EBCI has plans to develop the "experiential destination" as a gateway for the millions of tourists who travel to the Great Smoky Mountains.
Phase one of the project is being tentatively called the "Roadside District," but is not the official name. It will feature entertainment attractions, dining, shopping and more fitting a "road trip" theme akin to the legendary Route 66. The EBCI said it cannot name featured attractions yet, but that there will be a combination of nationally recognized companies and unique local businesses.
“The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is proud to partner with the elected officials and residents of TN on this exciting new opportunity," ECBI Chief Richard Sneed said. "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.”
Sevierville Mayor Ronnie Fox said the city is excited about the proposed development.
"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,” he said.
The tribe purchased the 200-acre lot just off exit 407 last year for $13.5 million and it sparked a lot of conversation and speculation on what they could build there. While many people immediately thought there would be a casino, it would be against existing state law to place a casino in that area.