The LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge (Tennessee) recognizes a significant milestone on Oct. 9 as the multi-purpose event facility marks completion of its fifth year of operation.
The $45 million facility has delivered a significant return on the city’s investment. Since the LeConte Center opened on Oct. 9, 2013, it has driven an additional $175 million in attendee spending in the city. For the past three years, the city’s gross revenue has exceeded one billion annually. Pigeon Forge is home to approximately 6,000 residents but welcomes more than 10 million visitors annually. Tourism is the city’s only industry.
“When Pigeon Forge committed to building the LeConte Center, our city leaders knew that we would have to remain true to the facility’s mission, which is to serve as a catalyst for development in our city, stimulate investment, create jobs, and create economic vitality and impact through scheduled functions that attract large numbers of out-of-town visitors,” said Pigeon Forge City Manager Earlene Teaster. “Over these past five years, the LeConte Center has exceeded expectations across the board.”
The 232,599-square-foot LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge was designed for many types of activities and that variety is a key factor in welcoming new visitors. The 147 events that have taken place in the facility over the past five years include athletic competitions (cheerleading, gymnastics, volleyball and basketball), faith-based assemblies (youth, women, senior adults and marriage), trade shows (gift/souvenir, hardware and food), automotive expositions, and musical concerts. The facility was home to 18 events in 2013; 37 events are scheduled for 2018.
“The LeConte Center’s significance to our city is demonstrated by the estimated 429,000 additional room nights generated for our lodging properties along with new businesses that now call our city home,” said Pigeon Forge Mayor David Wear. “This translates to approximately $19 million in state and local taxes generated by the folks who use and enjoy the LeConte Center, taxes which provide for our city’s infrastructure to benefit both our residents and visitors.”
New businesses within the facility’s immediate vicinity include Black Fox Lodge, Hilton Garden Inn, Home 2 Suites and Tru, both Hilton properties, as well as The Island in Pigeon Forge and the Mountain Mile, two retail, entertainment, and dining complexes.
The LeConte Center is strategically located adjacent to the city’s greenway, the Pigeon Forge Riverwalk, and a city-owned parking facility with 1,600 spaces and motorcoach access. It is in close proximity to restaurants, shops and lodging.
Since 2014, the LeConte Center’s 100,500-square-foot, clear-span (no columns) exhibit space has been home to the National Quartet Convention (NQC), Southern gospel music’s largest musical event. In 2016, NQC committed to a five-year contract extension that keeps the event in Pigeon Forge through 2021.
The LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge features:
An exhibit hall of 100,500 square feet;
A multi-purpose hall of 12,000 square feet that can be divided into three separate spaces or linked to the exhibit hall, expanding the exhibit hall to 112,500 square feet;
Eight multi-purpose rooms that can be configured into 15 spaces ranging from 750 to 2,000 square feet;
Six loading bays.