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Fire destroys Kituwah LLC building

A firefighter walks away from the burning Kituwah LLC buidling A firefighter walks away from the burning Kituwah LLC buidling EBCI Cherokee Fire and Rescue photo

The Kituwah LLC building has been destroyed in a fire that started during the early morning hours of Thursday, Dec. 15.

In a Facebook post, Kituwah LLC said that the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Cherokee Fire Department was dispatched to the scene at 1:55 a.m. and joined by crews from Bryson City, Qualla, Maggie Valley and Savannah. The adjacent Kituwah Global Government Group LLC building, which finished construction earlier this year, received slight fire and water damage. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“Thank you to our Cherokee Fire and Rescue, as well as fire crews from Bryson City, Qualla, Maggie Valley, Savanna [sic], and all who helped, for working tirelessly to fight the fire at Kituwah LLC,” said Principal Chief Richard Sneed in a Facebook post. “This is an incredibly unfortunate event and an investigation is forthcoming.”

A Cherokee Indian Police Department spokesperson declined to comment on the existence of a criminal investigation and referred The Smoky Mountain News to the Cherokee Fire Department for any comment. A spokesperson for that organization did not immediately return a request for comment.

“Our Cherokee firefighters did an outstanding job handling this fire and keeping it from spreading to the second structure,” reads a Facebook post from the Cherokee Fire Department.

Kituwah LLC CEO Mark Hubble did not immediately return a request for comment from The Smoky Mountain News but told The Cherokee One Feather that, while demolishing and rebuilding the building will cause “some minor disruption,” there will be “little to no loss of data,” as files are automatically backed up to both redundant servers and to the cloud. The building, its contents and business operations are “well-insured,” and the fire will cause “no material financial impact” to the company. Hubble told The One Feather that a two-story building will replace the destroyed one-story office space.

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Created in 2018 to diversify the tribe’s revenue streams, Kituwah LLC is wholly owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in a broad range of projects during its five years of existence. This includes $110 million in efforts to develop a 200-acre property off Interstate 40 in Sevier County and $324 to gain control of a brand with worldwide recognition — its name has not yet been announced publicly — and invest in multiple resorts to be developed across the country.

According to its 2021 annual report, Kituwah LLC turned a profit of $1.2 million last year with profits expected to grow 250% by the end of fiscal year 2022. Hubble told The One Feather that he expects profits to increase by more than 100% for the third year in a row with distributions to the tribe increasing by 500% in the coming year.

Kituwah Global Government Group LLC, also known as KG3, is a sister company of Kituwah LLC and the tribe’s government contracting arm. It provides goods and services for its federal customers such as program management, information technology, construction services, logistics, manufacturing and administrative support services.

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