|ELVIS PRESLEY ENTERPRISES FILES PLANS FOR
ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX ACROSS FROM GRACELAND
September 03, 2015 - By: Thomas Bailey / The Commercial Appeal / Elvis Express Radio
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Elvis Presley Enterprises has filed plans to build a new entertainment complex across from Graceland and a new Elvis hotel that's currently under construction. The Commercial
Appeal reports a letter with an application for the 45-acre project says it would include "a car museum showcasing cars owned by Elvis, two restaurants, a soundstage, a retail
component, and a museum highlighting and named 'Elvis the Entertainer.'"
Plans call for Graceland Plaza to be demolished and replaced with a larger and more modern complex that will cater to the fan experience. The letter says the project will serve as a
catalyst for redevelopment in the area.
City Councilman and mayoral candidate Harold Collins called it "good news" that the project is moving forward faster than expected.
The Land Use Control Board is to consider the proposal at its October0. 8 meeting.
Below is the article as published by the Commercial Appeal...
Elvis Presley Enterprises is seeking approval for a 45-acre 'entertainment complex' across the street from Graceland and the 450-room Elvis hotel already under construction.
The $30 million to $35 million project is arriving on th e scene earlier than some expected.
The development will include “a car museum showcasing cars owned by Elvis, two restaurants, a soundstage, a retail component, and a museum highlighting and named ‘Elvis the
Entertainer’,’’ states a letter accompanying the application to the Office of Planning & Development. Other exhibition space is expected.
More than 38 years after Elvis's death and the birth of a fan Mecca, the old strip shopping center that Elvis Presley Enterprises converted into Graceland Plaza will be demolished.
Replacing the strand of souvenir shops, museum, food courts and other businesses will be a far larger and more modern complex tailored to the fan experience.
The development will expand south into the rolling hills where Craft Manor Apartments once stood. That complex was one of a number of nearby properties Elvis Presley
Enterprises has purchased over the years to expand from the mansion's 12 acres to about 120 acres.
Elvis Presley Enterprises already is building The Guest House at Graceland, a 450-room, $75 million resort hotel on the east side of Elvis Presley Boulevard and just north of
The most surprising part of the Graceland West application is that it happened so fast, said City Councilman and mayoral candidate Harold Collins.
“It was believed this new project wouldn’t occur for another year and a half or two,’’ said Collins, who represents Whitehaven. “The good news is they secured the financing to move
the project forward sooner than expected... We're hopeful this part will be completed when the hotel is completed, which is next October (2016).''
The site plan shows a curvy drive coming off Elvis Presley Boulevard to a pedestrian plaza. A one-story commercial building stands in the middle of the plaza, which is also
surrounded by three or four other one-story commercial buildings.
Landscaping in front includes willow oak, tulip poplar and maple trees, and the Elvis Presley and Craft frontages would be lined with an ornamental metal fence.
“This development will serve as a catalyst for redeveloping the Whitehaven neighborhood, particularly along Elvis Presley Boulevard,’’ states the letter of intent written Friday by
attorney Hunter Humphreys of Glankler Brown.
"I think it will be fine as long as you can display his artifacts," Elvis fan Don Owen of Warrenton, Virginia, said when told about the big changes in store for the property. He and his
wife Elaine, who visit yearly, stood in front of Graceland Plaza as they waited to cross Elvis Presley Boulevard to the mansion.
"And have a gift shop for the public,'' he said. "We like the idea; it will give us something new to come back to next year.''
Councilman Collins said he knows the name of at least one of the two restaurants planned for the entertainment complex, but said he would let Elvis Presley Enterprises reveal the
“Absolutely,’’ replied Collins when asked if they were restaurants he would enjoy patronizing.
New restaurants and retail are important to Whitehaven “because this is what the community has asked for,’’ Collins said. “This is something we worked very hard to achieve. This
demonstrates the commitment to our community by Graceland and all of the stakeholders.’’
The loss of national brand retailers and restaurants has been an issue in Whitehaven, a middle class community that has shown signs of both economic distress and vitality over
the past several decades.
The planned improvements to Elvis Presley Boulevard were important to making the Graceland-related investments possible, Collins said. Memphis and the state will make $43
million worth of improvements to the street over the next three to five years.
“The city provided the foundation of restructuring and restoring the street,’’ he said, “which is critical to the redevelopment of Graceland and other areas around the city…. We
know once the street is brought up other opportunity could manifest itself.’’
The documents filed with the Office of Planning & Development give the project a working title of "Graceland West Planned Development,'' referring to its position on the west side
of Elvis Presley Boulevard. But "Graceland West'' is not expected to be the name of the entertainment complex.
The lot extends from the northwest corner of Elvis Presley Boulevard and Craft Road, stretching north to encompass the exhibit of Elvis’s two airplanes and a large parking lot
behind them. The plan shows that a canopy is planned for the aircraft.
The proposed new complex will have two curb cuts along Elvis Presley and two more along Craft Road, the application states. Existing curb cuts will be closed with new curbs.
The application describes one new detached sign that would be up to 35 feet high. Lighting would be directed away from residences to the south and west, the application states.
Consultants involved in the Graceland West project include Scott Kern of Poag Shopping Centers, Harvey and Greg Marcom of The Reaves Firm, Mark Weaver of Hnedak Bobo
Group, and Humphreys and Mark Jobe of the Glankler Brown law firm.
The Land Use Control Board is to consider the request for planned development approval at its meeting on Oct. 8.