Graceland expansion discussed at Memphis City Council meeting

Credit: Beth J. Harpaz

Credit: Beth J. Harpaz

A possible expansion of Graceland would mean more jobs and economic growth.

>> Read more trending news

The future of the home of rock 'n' roll legend Elvis Presley was up for discussion during Tuesday's Memphis City Council meeting.

Representatives with Elvis Presley Enterprises told the council that this decision would be a big deal for the city.

The goal is to move forward with possible redevelopment of Graceland – if Memphis city leaders agree on the plan.

EPE representative Joel Weinshanker said the first step is increasing the amount of money put into the project.

“Just an increase from 50 to 65 percent, but it will put more money into the city treasury – where guaranteeing that by increasing tax increment financing, the amount that we put into it, doesn’t go down,” Weinshanker said.

EPE sued the city of Memphis after complaints of delaying the approval process for expansion at Graceland recently.

They wanted an arena, but city leaders said it could violate a non-compete agreement with the FedEx Forum.

EPE said Graceland will agree not to build the arena for now without court approval or settlement.

Now, they’re asking to move forward with other major projects such as retail, plane hangars, an additional wing to the hotel and cabins.

“If you look what we’ve done, since we’ve started the hotel and Elvis Presley’s Memphis we’re putting more than $1 million a year more into the city treasury than we did before,” said Weinshanker.

We asked the city of Memphis’ chief operating officer what he thinks about the presentation presented to council. He said the city stands behind it because aside from the arena, the proposal doesn’t violate a compete agreement.

“We set that issue aside while we navigate the rest of the development. There’s a clear way to do that, that would be to withdraw the existing application and submit the four new elements and while the other issue is decided, we could be moving forward with an evaluation,” Doug McGowen said.

McGowen said although they want to move forward, they are tied up in the litigation process, which prevents them from moving forward with other projects.

“In addition to the manufacturing jobs, we have not yet seen an application for the incentive there, but we are eager to see that proposal and eager to receive it and evaluate any incentive that might come along with that,” he said.

Graceland’s local impact over the next 30 years is expected to be $9.3 billion dollars.

Some council members said they are in favor of other expansion projects.

About the Author