Council looks to leave lasting legacy with Graceland plan - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andrew Douglas

Council looks to leave lasting legacy with Graceland plan

Elvis Presley, an icon in his time and the most famous person to come out of Memphis, would no doubt be excited about future plans for his former home.

New Yorker Bob Sillerman wants to make Graceland into a mega-resort like Disney World- or maybe Elvis World. To support his idea, Sillerman is pumping more than $200 million into the area around Graceland mansion.

Next week, the Memphis City Council hopes to pass a resolution showing support of the project.

"Perhaps streetscape, trees, lighting, banners..that have different messages to talk about things that are Elvis like," said City Council member Tom Marshall.

Right now, the plan calls for a hotel and convention center, a walkway to the Graceland mansion, retail shops, and restaurants on more than 100 acres Sillerman's group bought from owners of properties surrounding Graceland.

"I know they have been pretty fair about what they bought this property for," said Baba Makki, who leases property near Graceland. "I know the owner of this place. I think they paid him a good price." 
 
Marshall is enthusiastic about the project.  "It's going to be a rebirth of the Whitehaven area," he said.
 
Marshall insists the City Council has studied the issue and wants to be the first to pass a resolution supporting it. Future councils will have to discuss zoning, tax abatements, and incentives, but the current crop of city leaders want to be the first on-board. 

"That is the greatest draw to Memphis from an international point of view, and I think it is going to be extremely exciting," Marshall said.
 
Exciting for Memphis and the millions of fans who visit Graceland each year.

Marshall said Memphians should not expect to see the project funded by a tax hike.


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