Major Graceland Expansion Now Underway
- Aug 16, 2016
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
Memphis, Tenn.—The King’s Memphis palace is about to get bigger. Elvis Presley Enterprises, manager and operator of Graceland, and its majority owner, Graceland Holdings LLC, have announced plans for the opening of a 200,000-square-foot entertainment complex at the King of Rock & Roll’s home. The facility, to be known as Elvis: Past, Present & Future, will cost $45 million to develop.
Elvis: Past, Present & Future will occupy a site across from the Graceland mansion, which opened its doors to the public in 1982. The 20,000-square-foot Elvis: The Entertainer museum will anchor the new complex, which will also feature the 20,000-square-foot Graceland Soundstage, a new Elvis Presley Automobile Museum with a 200-seat theater space, and an events venue that will accommodate up to 2,000 people. Two restaurants will also grace the new cutting-edge facility, as will retail stores and a coffee bar and ice cream shop.
Fated to be a strong tourist magnet, the goal of Elvis: Past Present & Future is to allow visitors to “live a day in the life of Elvis Presley” at a destination widely considered to be “the world’s greatest music landmark,” Joel Weinshanker, managing partner of Graceland Holdings, said in a prepared statement
The entertainment complex marks Phase II of a larger expansion plan that includes the 450-key The Guest House at Graceland, a full-service resort hotel scheduled to welcome its first guests on a site just a stone’s throw from the famed residence in October of this year. The Phase I, Graceland-inspired hotel project, owned by EPE, was developed for $92 million.
“When we assessed the needs of the Graceland operation and our guests, a new hotel facility was the number one priority,” Weinshanker said in a prepared statement on the hotel’s ground breaking in August 2014. “The time is right for growth at Graceland and with not only The Guest House at Graceland, but also new additions to the visitor experience that mark the beginning of a new era at Graceland for fans and our guests.”
Construction of Elvis: Past, Present & Future is currently underway and expected to reach completion in time for the entertainment complex’s debut in the spring of 2017. The project marks the largest and most notable expansion endeavor at Graceland since its introduction to the public five years after Elvis Presley’s death on August 16, 1977.
It’s not just Graceland that’s moving dirt. Cranes are popping up across Memphis, as the city is on the upswing. “Data continues to signal steady improvements within the Memphis economy,” as noted in a second quarter 2016 report by commercial real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield, and “the economic outlook for the MSA is positive.”
Construction projects currently underway in Memphis include the $200 million transformation of the former 1.2 million-square-foot Sears Building into the Crosstown Concourse mixed-use property. The $1.5 billion expansion of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is presently in the planning stage, as is the $250 million South City project, a redevelopment of Foot Homes, the largest public housing community in Memphis, into a 712-unit mixed-income multifamily property. Additionally, a new 440,000-square-foot addition at Methodist University Hospital is being planned, and is expected to cost $275 million. And the $191 million Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid mixed-use retail and entertainment complex opened one year ago. And the list goes on.