Exclusive: The Elvis Experience - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Janice Broach

Exclusive: The Elvis Experience

Next month marks the 30th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death and still three decades later the King is taking care of business.

The new man behind the rock-n-roll icon has big plans for the area around Elvis' home.

Elvis Presley, an idol to millions, and now a man from the Bronx named Bob Sillerman-- said to be richer than Donald Trump-- wants to transform Elvis' Graceland and the area around it with a $150 million project.

"He's going to have theme parks, he's going to have high technology exhibits. He's going to have all kinds of ancillary shows. He's going to have a place to expand the hotel-motel aspects," said Memphis City Councilman Tom Marshall.

Graceland's big boss man said that would be trouble.

"There are virtually no roller coasters, no rides, not really any aspects of a classic theme park involved in this master plan," said Jack Soden of Graceland Enterprises.

It is a somewhat secret master plan but Action News 5 reporter Janice Broach has learned some of the details.

The Elvis Experience will move across the street with a new visitors Center on the side of the road where the mansion sits.

There will be hotels, restaurants and much more. Graceland won't be changed, just restored where it's needed.

Elvis Presley Enterprises has been buying up property for more than a decade. They've bought an apartment complex and an RV park.

Bob Sillerman is buying the land just North of Graceland. Property owners in the area said Sillerman has been fair.

"I know they have been pretty fair about what they bought this property for. I know the owner of this place. I think they paid him a good price," said Babak Makki.

Glenn Rutherford, who owned the property where Hot Wheels is, said he sold it to Bob Sillerman for the price of $2.1 million. That's more than double the appraised value.

Jack Soden says 100 acres has been purchased and that's what Sillerman wants.

The folks who live right next to Graceland hope Sillerman and Elvis Presley Enterprises will come knocking any day now.

Homeowner Janice Johnson added, "there's rumors the possibility they were buying up this area and turn into something similar to Disney."

Johnson said she would love to sell her house.

But for now, there will be a lot more conversation and a lot less action because Sillerman doesn't have the financing in place yet.

And Jack Soden said the city, county and state need to get behind Elvis World. 

It's a project many say will transform the area and get everyone "All Shook Up."

As many as 50,000 Elvis fans are expected in Memphis next month for Elvis Week. More than 600,000 people visit Graceland yearly.

For information on 2007 Elvis Week activities, click here.


Click here to email Janice Broach.

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