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Whitehaven residents have seen retail and restaurant options move across the border into Southaven, Mississippi. But taking advantage of what is still in the community and more
that is planned was a message repeated during a town hall meeting Monday night.

“Southaven to eat, Southaven to shop," said Dwayne Hunt, pastor of Abundant Grace Fellowship. "And it's not just another community, it's another state. So, as residents of
Whitehaven, we've got to recognize that we still have an anchor in our community and that anchor is Graceland.”

Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden and others addressing the crowd of more than 100 at Hunt’s church on East Shelby Drive asked them to support EPE in its dispute with
the city of Memphis to help fund expansion plans at Graceland.

The dispute began with the issue that providing incentives for a 6,200-seat arena Graceland wants to build could be a violation of the noncompete clause in the Memphis Grizzlies’
agreement with the city of Memphis to operate FedExForum.

The clause forbids city and county governments from providing any public funding for an arena with more than 5,000 fixed seats.

But while the arena question is in litigation, the non-arena parts of Graceland's expansion plan, including adding sound stages, airplane hangars and a new RV park, have gone
before the Memphis City Council.

No court to date has ruled that incentives for other Graceland improvements beyond the arena would indirectly qualify as public benefits for the arena.

“We had an agreement with the city where they said they would support these items and now they’ve come back and said that the sound stages are the issue and that they also
violate the (noncompete) agreement,” said attorney Clarence Wilbon, a partner at Adams & Reese who represents EPE. “Of course, we don't agree with that.”

The council has delayed that vote four times since March. The last delay in May came after a half-hour, closed attorney-client session with council attorney Allan Wade.

The City Council is set to vote on the development agreement with EPE later this month.

Soden said it needs the city's help to support its proposed new investment, which totals nearly $100 million.

“We need help in the form of PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) and TIF (tax increment financing), which doesn’t take money away from anyone, it basically redirects some of the tax
revenue generated if we build it,” Soden said. “If we don’t build it and stop where we are, it’s a moot point.”

On the WKNO/Channel 10 program “Behind the Headlines,” city Chief Operating Officer Doug McGowen denied the Memphis Grizzlies organization is controlling the fate of the
development agreement between the city and Graceland.

“We have given the course ahead. If they want to do additional development on the Graceland campus, we’ve given them the path ahead for how they should apply for those
decisions, what can be included and what can’t," McGowen said. "And should they decide that they want to do manufacturing and decide that they need a PILOT, then they should
apply for it. We gave them that advice two years ago and we give that advice today.”

Originating Source - Daily Memphian

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