New details of the proposed development project at Graceland surfaced this week in a plan that will be presented to Memphis City Council members next week.
Plans to build a new hotel, called The Guest House at Graceland and close to the former home of Elvis Presley, were revealed in May. The price tag on that project jumped from $70 million to $75 million since the plans were originally unveiled.
The new plan came from Memphis Mayor A C Wharton’s administration. It includes a three-phase construction project, an overall master plan, a new board to oversee the project, and a proposed financing mechanism.
The proposal that will go before council Tuesday includes:
• Graceland Archives Studio - a 200-seat theater that will give “guests an in-depth look at the vast Graceland archives." The $1 million studio is slated to open on August 9.
• Guest House at Graceland - 450 rooms, 16,000 square feet of meeting and ballroom space, 500-seat theater, two restaurants, and a pool.
• New attractions on west side of Graceland campus - new entry element at Graceland gates, a high-tech “discovery center,” a high-tech area to experience Elvis in concert, and retail, food, and beverage areas.
To help pay for the new developments, the city will ask the state to designate the area as a tourist development zone (TDZ). Some state and city taxes collected in TDZs are funneled away from traditional government coffers and go instead to pay for big projects like convention centers or tourist attractions.
A TDZ was established around the Pyramid to help pay for its redevelopment and coming projects in the Pinch District. The city now has a request before the state to make a TDZ around the Mid-South Fairgrounds to create a state-of-the-art sportsplex on the property.
In the case of the Graceland project, Wharton will ask council to approve an additional 5 percent tourist surcharge on goods and services used by visitors to the Graceland TDZ, the resolution says.
The resolution that will go before council Tuesday will also ask to set up a committee to oversee the project. The nine-member committee will have the authority to issue bonds, incur debt, and pay debt.