Sevier County Governor's Crossing gets $12M expansion; Mountain Mile attraction targets May 2019 for first phase

The attractions keep on growing in Sevier County, with one established resort expanding and a new entertainment complex under construction, both slated to open in spring 2019.

Sevierville resort gets $12M expansion

The Resort at Governor’s Crossing is adding a building with 67 condominiums, ranging from studio to 3-bedroom, to its existing 165 units. The new condos come in various sizes and layouts, but all will be fully equipped; some can hold up to 18 guests, according to a news release.

Construction began Feb. 1, said Don Collier, president of the condominium resort’s homeowners’ association. The building is expected to open April 1, and condominiums will be available for sale in May.

The resort already features indoor and outdoor water parks, miniature golf and a pirate-themed playground. Now, in addition to the new condos, the Collier family is adding Firefly Cove, a 5-acre “family park-like setting” with a playground, picnic area and walking trails; and Adventure Springs, an aquatic play area which uses more than 1,500 gallons of water per minute. It includes a 300-gallon “dump bucket” and two water slides.

The resort’s condo owners and regular rental guests asked for these amenities in particular, said Kay Collier-Pittman, president of Governor’s Crossing Leasing and Management.

Most of the resort’s guests come from southeastern states, and the resort bought all possible furnishings and fixtures from companies in that region, Collier-Pittman said.

Brenda McCroskey, CEO of the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce, said the Resort at Governor’s Landing hosted its millionth guest in April. In April the resort welcomed its millionth guest. It has been named the 17th-ranked resort in the U.S. by, she said.

Collier said the Resort at Governor’s Crossing has succeeded and grown in large part due to its location: about three miles from Dollywood, near many other attractions, and adjacent to major shopping areas.

Pigeon Forge Mountain Monster rising

About three miles away in Pigeon Forge, work continues on the first phase of the Mountain Mile project – the Mountain Monster ride and the Tower Shops.

Demolition began in January on the central part of the former Belz Mall reducing it from 230,000 square feet to 180,000 and creating a horseshoe-shaped plaza. It’s expected to become a retail and entertainment complex, the first phase of a 169-acre development dubbed the Mountain Mile.

The mall is expected to house a bowling alley, sports bar, arcade, various shops and restaurants, including a high-quality gastro-pub, principal developer Dixon Greenwood said.

In front of the shops will be a first-of-its-kind ride designed by Stan Checketts, who has built rides in 39 countries, including the Big Shot thrill ride on the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas.

The rides’ towering metal framework, rising 200 feet above Teaster Lane, was erected Oct. 14, Greenwood said.

On one side of the main tower is a “drop ride,” on the other a “saddle ride” that launches riders into the air, and facing Teaster Lane is the main “dive ride” which connects to an equally-tall arch in front. Riders will swing down 65 feet from the main tower, close over a water feature, and back up toward the arch, Greenwood said.

The ride and part of the shopping area were expected to be finished in March 2019, but will probably take until May, he said. Infrastructure is in place, but workers waited on several hundred tons of steel, Greenwood said. Now that has arrived, and work should speed up, he said.

Though he didn’t want to announce names, Greenwood said several leases are signed or pending for stores and restaurants – some celebrity-themed – in the Tower Shops. One $12.5-million deal is for a site just behind and above the old mall, connected by an elevator and skybridge, he said.

The rides and Tower Shops area are still around the originally-announced $30 million cost, Greenwood said. Further down Teaster Lane, the city of Pigeon Forge will acquire about 20 acres of Mountain Mile property for additional parking for the LeConte Center, he said.

$100M pricetag for full project

Greenwood estimated fully developing the Mountain Mile property would take more than $100 million.

The tract includes more than a mile of frontage on Teaster Lane, and includes two occupied strip malls. Down the street are two Hilton-brand hotels – Home 2 Suites and Tru, both within the Mountain Mile footprint.

The Mountain Mile property wraps most of the way around the Cal Ripken Experience baseball complex, behind The Island In Pigeon Forge and the LeConte Center. It fronts on Teaster Lane and Jake Thomas Boulevard, which will eventually connect to Dollywood. Another road or two is proposed through the development.

At the rear of the Tower Shops is a 72-acre tract ripe for attractions, he said.

A concept drawing on the development website,, proposes a “waterpark resort” on one end of the tract, across Teaster Lane from the LeConte Center; a tubing park and parking garage along one side of the Ripken Experience, and stretching behind the shopping area a driving range, outdoor “adventure center,” amphitheater and a row of cabins.

Backing the development are four local investors including Greenwood himself, he said. They are expected to market pads for more hotels, stores and restaurants, and serve as the property’s landlord, Greenwood said.

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel, by Jim Gaines

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Published October 26, 2018