'The Island' in Pigeon Forge nears completion

'The Island' in Pigeon Forge nears completion

Posted:
The first phase of The Island is about one month from completion. The first phase of The Island is about one month from completion.
Among the attractions is The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, a 200-foot observation wheel Among the attractions is The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, a 200-foot observation wheel
"We just kind of started walking around and thought, you know what, this is probably the next place we need to open up a gift store," said Island Trading Post owner Neale Murphy. "We just kind of started walking around and thought, you know what, this is probably the next place we need to open up a gift store," said Island Trading Post owner Neale Murphy.

By JESSA LEWIS
6 News Reporter

PIGEON FORGE (WATE) - A new entertainment development in Pigeon Forge is nearing completion, as the finishing touches are put on the main attraction.

A year and a half after a new group of developers took over the former Belle Island project, the first phase of what's been rechristened 'The Island' is about a month away from opening.

"I just like seeing things in Pigeon Forge happening, and this has sat dormant for four years. I'm excited. It is great for Pigeon Forge, and it's great for everyone involved here in Pigeon Forge, so it's an exciting project," said The Island Director of Operations Tom Horne.

The Island will be what Horne calls an 'eat-ertainment' area: a pedestrian area with restaurants, shops and attractions.

"The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, our 200-foot observation wheel is kind of our centerpiece for this phase of it," Horne explained.

The project is attracting business owners from all over the U.S.

The owner of the future Island Trading Post is in East Tennessee all the way from Alaska.

"We've been coming down here for the last four or five year to the gift show that's here every November, and we just kind of started walking around and thought, you know what, this is probably the next place we need to open up a gift store," said Island Trading Post owner Neale Murphy.

Murphy and his wife already own shops in their home state, but can only operate those in the summer months.

"We know all about tourists and we think this is an even bigger opportunity because it's almost all year long. There's peaks and valleys, but the store stays open all year and we're pretty excited," Murphy said.

Products are already coming in that will fill store shelves when it opens in early June.

The second phase of the project, which includes a hotel, is set to open later this year.

Between 700 and 1,100 people could be employed once both phases are open.

Currently the restaurants and the wheel are hiring.

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