In July we talked about the potential new sports complex for Gatlinburg and the opening of the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge that is scheduled for 2013. Recent news shows that the sports complex project is moving full speed ahead and Pigeon Forge is already lining up events for the LeConte Center. The county expects to see huge tourism and revenue gains from both projects. So how are they stacking up and what kind of impact will the Smoky Mountain real estate market see?
On Monday night the County Commissioners were all in agreement with a resolution to partner with the City of Gatlinburg on the sports complex project. This 70/30 partnership will assist with the funding of the project and keep things moving forward to completion. The city and county will be entering into an agreement with the school system to include use of their existing sports facilities when the complex is hosting events. The facility will draw more visitors to the area as families come for tournaments. The Sports Facility Advisory Founder, Dev Pathik, said “I believe people will want to come here and have unique experiences. That’s a rare opportunity.” Vacation lodging will feel the effect of the increase in visitors as well as a potential lengthening of the tourist season in the area.
The LeConte Center, slated to open in September of 2013 is a huge event complex that is expected to generate more than thirty four million dollars to the area. They have already drawn the attention of The National Quartet Convention, previously held in Louisville, KY. After 20 years in Louisville the convention has committed to at least 2 years in Pigeon Forge to give the area a try. They are interested in the diversity of attractions and lodging available for the more than 40,000 people it expects to bring to the area. The Louisville Courier Journal says that this is the world’s largest gathering of southern gospel musicians and fans and has an economic impact of an estimated $8 million. Phil Campbell of the Pigeon Forge Hospitality Association expects the relationship to last much longer than the currently contracted two years. Campbell says “If they come here and find it suitable and if attendance is good, they’ll stay a lot longer.” Starting in 2014, this annual event is sure to increase rental revenues.
Other reports show that the area is outperforming both Branson and Myrtle Beach in tourism for 2012 with Branson actually seeing a 1.1% drop from their numbers of 2011. Steven Morse, an economist from The University of Tennessee says “I think Sevier County has done well because of the strong brand image the entire county represented. That strong brand image is ‘value family vacations.’
With all of these pushes that will increase the already large amount of visitors to the area the value of investment property is sure to increase. Sevier County is already seeing an improved real estate market from last year. As rental income increases for investment homes in the area it will keep the trend moving upward. There are numerous opportunities to own a vacation rental property in the area and we encourage you to take a look at our website and begin exploring what is available. Now is the time to start thinking about the future impact of these projects on the Smoky Mountain real estate market.
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