City leaders cut ribbon on the LeConte Center in Pigeon Forge. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)
PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Pigeon Forge has opened an all new $50 million events center that the city hopes will provide an all new avenue for tourism.
After years of planning, designing and then building, the LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge was opened on Wednesday.
"It's designed to be an economic magnet for the City of Pigeon Forge. We've got big groups that's an economic impact," said Leon Downey, Director of Tourism.
Downey says much of the planning involved looking at what would draw large convention groups to Pigeon Forge. He says many wanted a mountain feel and a single level facility.
"There's not any stairs in the public and not anything in this building that's not on one level. Again it's about pleasing your customers and that's what this building is about," said Downey.
The center is 232,000-square-foot in space and is designed to hold large conventions. The city believes this could be a way to increase tourism in the area.
"It's been doing what it's meant to do, even during the construction phase, that is to create economic impact in our area. We're very excited about the economic impact we're going to see from this building and that's the purpose," said Pigeon Forge Mayor David Wear.
Pigeon Forge says already for an event next year, they've booked $125,000 worth of hotel rooms in the city.