Gatlinburg resort expands, creating more jobs

Westgate Resort is expanding in Gatlinburg. (Source: Kyle Grainger, WVLT)

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Westgate Resort in Gatlinburg is in the middle of a multimillion dollar expansion project that will add dozens of jobs when completed.

The resort is adding 72, 3200 square foot villas that will add nearly 200 rooms.

"Currently over 760 units with our current addition We'll have well over 800 and continue to be the largest resort in the area," said Chris Brown with Westgate Resort. "We've got quite a few construction workers employed, we've gone through a contractor and got people from around the area as well as the state."

Brown says he will have to add staff to help accommodate the expansion. Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort in Gatlinburg is the Smokies largest resort.

Westgate has a combination of traditional hotel rooms and timeshare units. The company says this expansion to traditional hotel business and is driven by the growing Smoky Mountain tourism business.

The resort hopes to have the expansion complete by spring.

The job announcement comes at a time when many businesses have laid off workers. That leaves many looking for ways to feed their family and turn to Sevier County Food Ministry. The group has seen 300 new families come in needing help so far this year.

"A lot of places have closed for the winter or they've cut way back on hours. not as busy," said Jim Davis with the ministry. "It's just not as busy in Sevier County and sometimes people have a hard time making it in the winter."

Davis says his organization helped nearly 200 people in a hour on Tuesday.

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