Dollywood announces $20M expansion to empire: On-site housing 

Eugene Naughton, President of The Dollywood Company

Eugene Naughton, President of The Dollywood Company, speaks at the groundbreaking event for Dollywood's new residence hall on Aug. 12, 2021 (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

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Dollywood officials have just announced yet another expansion to Dolly Parton’s Pigeon Forge empire.

As many are aware, area staffing shortages plague Sevier County.

And the problem has only worsened in recent months as area attractions and restaurants struggle to find and retain employees.

“Help wanted” signs have become a common sight throughout the county.

This is due, in large part, to a lack of affordable housing in the area.

Read More: Sevier County’s staffing shortage problem not what you think

But Dollywood’s latest project aims to help solve that problem with a $20 million expansion in the form of affordable housing.

Dolly, it would seem, is here to save the day once again.

The residence hall-style 136,000 square foot, four-story building will be able to accommodate more than 750 seasonal area employees. 

The building will be located on Dollywood grounds.

Read Also: Dolly Parton accomplishments: 6 amazing things she has done

A rendering of what the new four-story on-site residence hall will look like upon completion
A rendering of Dollywood’s new on-site housing project (rendering provided by MBI/Dollywood)

Dollywood’s partnership with Holtz Builders

“We partnered with Holtz Builders because they have proven successful at helping similar destinations create housing options to support the needs of their growing communities,” said Tim Berry, Dollywood Vice President of Human Resources. 

“The Smoky Mountains region has proven to be one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country. And with the growth of businesses and attractions in the area, we need more employees ready to support all of those jobs. Employee housing is a crucial piece of the employment equation in this area.” 

Holtz Builders is a Wisconsin-based company. They have earned a reputation for creating similar structures in resort towns throughout the nation.

Holtz will construct, maintain and manage the new property. Dollywood provided the land.

“We strive to provide safe and affordable housing for seasonal guests that come from around the world and from the U.S.,” said Dan Bullock, President of the Holtz Companies.

“We hope we can have a positive impact on the overall experience they have here in this beautiful community in the Smoky Mountains.”

A rendering of the new residence hall
Each room will include private lockers, a bathroom, a large fridge and a study desk (rendering provided by MBI/Dollywood)

Included amenities for Dollywood’s new residence hall

Standard rooms will accommodate four residents with four beds. Amenities include individual lockers, a private bathroom, a large fridge and a desk.

ADA-accessible rooms will have space for two individuals. These rooms will contain the same amenities as the standard rooms. 

Additionally, a common kitchen, gathering space and laundry facilities will be included. 

And of course, Wi-Fi will be available throughout the building.

The ground floor of the building will provide additional office space and other facilities designed to support seasonal staffers.

Ground breaking site at dollywood
The new residence hall will be located on-site at Dollywood, complete with roller coaster views (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

Who is eligible to receive temporary housing at Dollywood?

The following seasonal workers may be eligible to live in Dollywood’s new residence hall:

  • Students working at Dollywood through the U.S. Summer Work Travel program. 
  • Students working at Dollywood through U.S. college campus organizations like Campus Outreach, Navigators and Young Life.
  • College interns working on specific assignments at Dollywood for educational credits.
  • Employees of other area businesses in similar programs through organizations like Sevier County’s Southern Hospitality Internship.
Dollywood and Holtz officials break ground at a ceremony hosted on Aug. 12, 2021 (photo by Daniel Munson/TheSmokies.com)

Is it just for Dollywood employees?

As stated above, employees of other area businesses may also be eligible.

When will Dollywood’s new residence hall open?

The majority of the project is scheduled for completion in May 2022.

The ground floor will be unfinished when residents move in. But it will be completed soon after.

Dollywood's HeartSong Lodge and Resort Exterior
HeartSong will feature themed suites, indoor and outdoor pools and outdoor family gather spaces (rendering provided by Dollywood)

Other Dollywood projects coming soon

Last June, The Dollywood Company announced a $500 million investment strategy.

The investment is said to take place over the course of the next decade.

Slated projects include four new resorts, a campground and a new “record-breaking” attraction for the park.

The first project in the line-up will be a 302-room resort named HeartSong.

HeartSong will be located across from Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa in Pigeon Forge. The resort is set to open in 2023.

Read More: When will HeartSong open? A look at Dollywood’s newest resort

What do you think about Dollywood’s latest project? Do you think it will improve our staffing shortages problem? Will it attract more seasonal workers? Let us know what you think in the comments below. We are excited to hear from you.

Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at info@thesmokies.com for questions or comments.

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23 thoughts on “Dollywood announces $20M expansion to empire: On-site housing ”

  1. Dolly your a one of a kind, much loved by all your fans around the world…
    ❤️🦋😘

  2. Wish they were more affordable for the middle class people me and my husband come to pigon forge every year we love it there . Have so much fun.. we would of love to stay in the new resort but could not afford to..

  3. Omy I love this. Can’t wait for all the new things. Prayers for all the workers and staffing. And God bless you Dolly Parton. O and love the campground idea.

  4. AWESOME plan!!!!!!
    Leave rooms open for those that are not in the temporary seasonal help or the work programs. Some that do live local that has to travel long distance to get work and work longer hours may need a room for an overnight stay Even if the weather condition is bad during their shift. Wow DW tops it off again ❤ Sweet Dolly

  5. I think that’s Awesome but we don’t have the infrastructure that we need to handle all the traffic that keeps coming in .Hopefully Pigeon Forge officials will push harder to get roads like Jake Thomas Rd addition done quicker 👍

  6. I think the new employee housing should look and feel like a log mountain home feel or something that matches the other buildings in the park. The building they have designed does not look right in the smokies!!!

  7. If this is for seasonal workers, mostly students, what are they going to do when schools start back and seasonal workers go back to school. October, November and December. Would be better to offer it to others, not just to students.

  8. Well I have always wanted to come to Dollywood.But the prices are so high.I am a senior now and still can’t.I just wish things didn’t cost so much.

  9. Build a housing project where locals can live reasonably and then maybe locals will work there. Many people have no transportation and can’t afford the very limited housing in the area. Help local young people instead of imports.

  10. I think this is an awesome idea. Dolly is always thinking of ways to help people. Creating housing for folks in the area, enabling students to receive credits for working, not only at Dollywood, but other establishments…wow! Thank you, Dolly, for all you do.❤

  11. I think it is a wonderful idea. It is hard to find a company and employeer who actually cares about their employees and dont think of you as replaceable all the time. I have never found a company where I feel at home. Sounds like I need to work for Dollywood lol. Great job as always.

  12. I would love to work for you. I have 3 small puppies. It’s hard to find places to live I live in Franklin NC. I have bad knees. I haven’t work since March 2020.

  13. Sounds great ‼️I’m sure there will be some Kinks to work out. May it be a success ‼️

  14. I have always admired Dolly. I too, as a senior, wish it was more affordable to travel there. It’s just amazing what she is doing. I do wonder though where she was at the ground breaking?

  15. Should allow for a percentage of actual locals to live here, there is a terrible housing shortage in this area. Gatlinburg does this same thing, 3 different housing developments for student and foreign students but nothing for locals.

  16. couldnt agree more Tory! this is a great idea but we need help for locals who are sticking it out all year long not jst for the summer help working at dw.

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