WOW, WOW and WOW, alot of money...
I have been reading some lame excuses and just flat out misunderstood comments or should I say complaints coming from EP fans regarding the soon to be Graceland expansion plans. So for those who are confused and don't understand exactly what is being planned and why it is important for these plans, I have broken it all down for you step by step to let you see what is and isn't being planned so that you will have a better understanding to it all.
1)There will NOT be any amusement park or rides at Graceland or part of the new expansion plans. This is a given. Priscilla mentioned this at the Insiders Meeting.
2)The plans call for a complete redevelopment plan that is both privately and publicly funded to enhance the visitation of the Graceland estate and bring in more tourism yearly which will generate more money into the struggling Memphis economy. In order to doing that, they MUST upgrade the facilities, revamp the area, and have city and state support or the project would suffer financially in the long run. (think an entire community remodeled). The total cost of this massive project is $250 as of now, but it could exceed that when the final plans are announced.
3)The plans call for a new state of the art visitor's center to replace the current run down squashed together outdated former strip mall called the Graceland Plaza. The current one will be torn down once the new one is complete.
4)The new visitor's center will be built on the same side of street as the mansion, to the left of the mansion making it more easier for access to the tours without using shuttle buses. This was Graceland's original plan but the land wasn't available back then.
5)The plans for the new visitor's center are to go more modernized to attract new fans and still cater to the older fans at the same time.
6)Among those plans are a hi-tech museum (for the computer cyber generation lovers) to display interactive exhibits and for the visitors to learn and discover EP and his legacy.
7)The facility will feature much better and bigger attractions than currently displayed at the Plaza using modern day technology.
8)I expect there to be some type of hi-tech theater of some sort (if FXS is wanting interactive attractions). Maybe not exactly an Imax, but something similar that would showcase the live performer that was E-L-V-I-S in a unique fashion.
9)Expect some type of EP themed restaurant as part of the plans, similar to the old Elvis Presley's Memphis spot on Beale Street.
10)The plans call for a new Hotel to replace the current Heartbreak Hotel. The new hotel will be 500 rooms and a conventional hotel that is capable of holding conventions and events. This will only up the tourism and business for EPE and CKX.
11)The new hotel will have a top tier company to buy the naming rights (such as Marriott or Ritz Carlton) that are a resort style hotel chains.
12)The plans call for the city and state to get involved financially to upgrade the businesses that are in that area and to buy up land to sell to high investors.
13)Expect breathtaking landscaping like that of Disney and Epcot in Orlando with beauitful array of flowers and flower beds and possibly water fountains. The mind can't even imagine what a beautiful attraction this is going to be. I will bet my house that it will not in any way degrade or disrespect EP or his memory and will only brighten the image and the man's legacy he left behind.
RUMORS: Right now these are just rumors and speculation as to what else is being planned.
*a pedestrian bridge to be built over Elvis Presley Boulevard. The city and state would fund this. Possibly costing anywhere from $2 million to $4 million. Depending how big and fancy it would be.
*a residential buyout. Bob Sillerman is rumored (by media and sources) to be putting together a financial plan to buy up residential homes and lots around the Graceland mansion and area to expand the property. Expect those owners to get more than what their land is worth. Rumors are that this could be a buy up of over 100-200 homes in the Graceland area.
*a petting zoo. Why a petting zoo some may ask? Well because of EP's strong love for animals. EPE has been in talks for awhile now with making a home for abandoned animals at Graceland and this would fit into the rumored plans for a small zoo to attract younger fans. EP had a chimpanzee named Scatter and he had peacocks running the grounds along with horses. Having a petting zoo as part of the plans makes sense and would attract more children (as Priscilla alluded to) and young adults. There should be some type of theme there with it. Maybe "Animal Instinct"?
*a theme park. This has been mentioned by the media mainly. But apparently it is not part of the plans. However it is possible that the "theme park" rumor could have some life to it. Recently Bob Sillerman and Simon Fuller went into partnership and bought out a company to go private for $1.3 billion and in that contract was an agreement that allows Bob Sillerman to use EP's name for marketing theme parks and amusement parks. But not at Graceland and it can't be degrading in any way. Now there are big plans and the ground breaking has already began for a new MGM Theme Park in Southaven, MS which is only 6.2 miles from Graceland. It's going to be a 200 acre park like the one in Orlando (Disney MGM). Could this be where the rumor takes life? Could there be plans for the first ever Elvis World Theme Park down the road from Graceland and near the new MGM Park as part of the new entertainment district? It all makes sense if it is. And this could be a great way in taking EP and preserving his name for generations to come. As long as it's not on the Graceland grounds, then I see nothing wrong with that at all and would only add to the tourism at Graceland.
Here is a drawings of what the MGM Park will look like.
So now I hope for all those who have been confused as to what is and isn't planned for the new expansion which are to take place soon and be completed in a 3 year span, I hope you are no longer confused. And finally from the mouth of Joe Esposito "this is exactly what the fans have wanted".
Last edited by EP75; 08-25-2007 at 11:48 AM.
WOW, WOW and WOW, alot of money...
Taking Care of BusinessTil we meet you again, may God bless you, Adios.
they are sure putting alot of work, time ,and most importantly the big bucks into this good on them
No words right now.
It is simply too much to comprehend right now.
Last edited by riley; 08-25-2007 at 01:00 PM.
Gardens and fountains would be wonderful. I place to relax and think. ELvis would love that for sure. This sounds pretty good. Let's hope it is.
Thank you for sharing this information with us. I can see that intentions are good, and this gives me hope for wonderful things to come.
Wow no negative comments. I'm impressed. That MGM Park is going to be amazing! Add in the new Graceland plans and you got wonderful attractions to take the family and kids to.
EP75, I'm not saying your wrong but I'm very curious where you heard about the MGM Theme park thing? I'd like to know more on that part . I know that Disney announced this month it was severing ties with the MGM name and renaming its MGM theme park at Disney world so this is kind of interesting news to me.
But I am still no fan of all these plans. With all the money they are willing to invest they could clean up the surroundings of Graceland and make it look like a 'King's Chateau Park', including the residential homes around Graceland.
Why have all the points, 1 - 10 you are mentioning, have to be build beside or around Graceland? I honestly think Sillerman and his business friends are using Graceland and Elvis under the pretext of doing something for the fans and the city of Memphis, if they would have only 1% of Elvis' generosity they could have embellished the environments years ago without craving for more more more money. Just my opinion.
I'm not comfortable with this whole idea. I agree the area surrounding Graceland needs to be cleaned up but I'm not sure of the magnitude at which they are planning to do it. It will take away from the main part - Graceland itself. I went to Memphis to visit Graceland, and Graceland only. To pay my respects to Elvis and his family. Not to visit a theme park, etc. I hope these people know what they are doing.
Guys there is a new article in Memphis' Commercial Appeal online this morning about Whitehaven becoming a new power for the city. It talks about the Graceland plans and redeveloping the airport area. Some very interesting and positive plans indeed.
By Michael Kelley (Contact)
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Traffic around Graceland has thinned over the last week with the departure of Elvis Week's huge group of 30th anniversary pilgrims. But it's still a busy place, down Elvis Presley Boulevard, past the used car lots, the motels, the fast food joints and gas stations.
And there is a sense of anticipation over the plans being made behind the mansion's graffiti-covered walls, where visitors scribble homage to America's greatest pop culture icon.
A $250 million expansion of the tourist attraction surrounding Elvis Presley's Whitehaven home could perform wonders in a section of Memphis that in some ways has fallen behind other areas of the city.
Especially its image.
Whitehaven's negative connotation is not
deserved. Those are ill-informed travel agents who tell tourists to stay elsewhere when they're coming to Graceland. Its crime rate is invariably exaggerated. But it's easily dismissed in a city that can offer an exciting Downtown entertainment district, boutique shopping and fine dining out east.
"Whitehaven was pretty much ignored for a long time by the city," notes Cheryl Forbes, executive director of the Whitehaven Economic Development Corp. "When they annexed certain areas, the infrastructure was ignored. Things happened in Whitehaven that were unplanned, without any thought or vision of what do we want this area to be. The correction takes time and a lot of effort by the corporations, by our organization and others. But it takes time to do."
"I've been in business here 26 years," said Chuck Strong, owner of Piano's Flowers & Gifts Inc., on Elvis Presley Boulevard. "People in Whitehaven have a perception of what Whitehaven is, and people elsewhere have another perception."
Still, Strong argues, Whitehaven could use -- and could support -- more upscale shopping, dining and hotels and perhaps even an entertainment district that could piggyback on the Elvis experience. The plan to expand and rejuvenate Graceland has raised hopes in Whitehaven for those kinds of developments.
Robert Lipscomb, the city's chief financial officer, sees the project as a "great thing" for the entire Whitehaven area that could be tied in with a plan to improve the Brooks Road corridor, raise the area's profile and improve its quality of life.
Which isn't bad, especially in some of the middle-class neighborhoods on either side of Elvis Presley, with their large, tree-shaded lots, carefully tended lawns and ranch-style houses, built in the '60s and '70s and preserved with obvious care.
Zip code 38116, which covers the area traditionally known as Whitehaven, has a number of low-key but pleasant neighborhoods. Once a predominately white suburban enclave, 38116 is now almost 91 percent African-American, according to City-Data.com, with a median income of $33,916, compared to $33,244 for Memphis as a whole.
The place might have been a white haven for awhile, but that's not how it got its name. Col. Francis M. White was a land owner and president of what was once a major railroad, where White's Station morphed into White Haven and eventually Whitehaven.
The 28-square-mile Whitehaven annexation area, which included not only Graceland but Southland Mall and Whitehaven Country Club, became part of Memphis in 1969 at the end of a protracted battle with the city that initiated its dramatic demographic conversion.
The area covered by the Whitehaven Economic Development Corp., which also includes Zip Code 38109 to the west, has been declining in population, but counting its successes, as well -- rejuvenated, redirected economic engines like the 1960s-era Bellbrook Industrial Park, one of the city's largest, most modern library branches and the forced closing of one of its worst eyesores and public nuisances -- the infamous Black Tail Shake Joint, one of several adult-oriented businesses on Brooks Road.
The area is home to some of the key players in the biomedical industry, a key to Memphis' future economic vitality. The retail sector that seemed to be abandoning Whitehaven, driving residents into Mississippi for daily shopping needs, is gradually coming back.
Former U.S. representative Harold Ford Sr. and other major African-American leaders have made their home in Whitehaven. DJ Paul of Three 6 Mafia grew up there. It's home to Methodist Hospital South, Nonconnah Corporate Park and Southland Mall, one of the region's oldest enclosed shopping centers.
On its eastern edge is Memphis International Airport, so Whitehaven would inevitably have to be included in the overall effort to position Memphis as an important world "aerotropolis." A new Airport Area Development Corp., led by officials from some of Whitehaven's leading companies, is spearheading that effort, and the city is funding a master plan for the corridor along Brooks Road that is aimed at eventually driving out the embarrassments.
So could Whitehaven be in store for an infusion of new life, new blood and -- this is the best part -- new money?
A plan to revitalize the area immediately surrounding Graceland, crafted by Robert F.X. Sillerman, chief executive of Graceland parent corporation CKX Inc., could be the spark that ignites a golden age for the former suburb. Then again, it might just widen the island of economic excitement that the tourist attraction occupies in the center of a sea of relative tranquility.
It's not clear yet how much the public will be asked to help with the effort.
The Tennessee legislature approved a bill last spring that authorizes the creation of a tourism development zone (TDZ) there, which will allow some local taxes collected within its boundaries to be used to help finance the project.
Executives of Graceland have announced plans for $250 million in improvements, including at least one new hotel, new attractions, new shops and a new and much larger visitors' center -- all within a five-year time span. The city will pitch in with some infrastructure improvements. Tax abatements and other incentives also could kick in -- an investment that would pay off if the effort to double Graceland's total of 600,000 annual visitors meets with success.
Graceland is investing heavily in the idea with $13 million in property acquisitions over the last two years that have expanded its campus to more than 100 acres, enough for a Disneyland-like experience -- or perhaps something more along the lines of Branson, Mo.
"I look for a lot of synergy to take place," said Myron Lowery, the representative of a City Council superdistrict that takes in Whitehaven and surrounding areas. "It will be between the future development of Graceland and other retail outlets, who will come in realizing that not only local residents are going to be participating in this but tourists as well. I think the future for Whitehaven is bright."
Michael Kelley is an editorial writer for The Commercial Appeal. Contact him at 529-2785.