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Weekend edition April 14, 2023 | Shannon Smith

Development begins at new Exit 407 entertainment district

First comes Buc-ee's, then come a whole lot more reasons to stop in Sevier County.

Kituwah, LLC began the development of Smoky Gap this week, a unique entertainment district located within The 407: Gateway to Adventure at Exit 407 off I-40 in Sevierville. Smoky Gap will be the first of several phases of development and is expected to open in 2025. It will be a 20-acre district in the massive 200-acre development owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI).

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 Main Street with Americana-themed storefronts and a large clock tower. A future attraction, to be announced at a later date, will anchor Smoky Gap with a world-class experiential facility.

Rick Laney Marketing.

The first business to open on the property is gas station chain Buc-ee’s, which will be opening its world’s largest location there this summer.

Next, phase one will include a Marriott Courtyard Hotel slated to open in 2025. Smoky Gap dining and retail district is planned to also open in 2025.

Phase two doesn’t have many details, just that a “destination resort” will open to elevate the property “into an overnight world-class destination.”

Rick Laney Marketing.

The EBCI s is 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 the Construction Manager of the multi-million-dollar project.

“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.”

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