Whitehaven is getting all shook up with news that a hotel will be built next to Graceland if everything goes according to plan.
According to a presentation by Elvis Presley Enterprises last week, the 450-room hotel would be built next to Graceland at the corner of Elvis Presley Boulevard and Old Hickory Road. The Guest House at Graceland, as it will be called, would create 75 to 100 new jobs.
The $70 million hotel plans are the first major development since the organization was acquired by Authentic Brands Group in New York City in November of last year. If everything goes as planned, construction could begin in August.
At the public meeting detailing the plans for the hotel last week, City Councilman Harold Collins said building the Guest House at Graceland would help attract more higher-end businesses to the Whitehaven area. He was responding to a question from a young woman suggesting there are too many fast food chains along Elvis Presley.
"When the Guest House goes up, when the lounge goes up, we will be able to recruit businesses that you all have been wanting," he said.
Homer Branan, the attorney representing Elvis Presley Enterprises, said the organization is eager to begin building the Guest House. Demolition has already started at the site.
"The biggest challenge right now is time. They want to be under construction now," Branan said. "We've got to get this through the Land Use Control Board and the City Council as quickly as possible. The engineers are already doing the plans — the drainage plans, the grating plans. The architects are doing the plans to get a building permit. We've got to get a building permit as quickly as possible."
When it is ready, the hotel won't just be for Elvis fans.
"We're not far from the airport," Branan said. "They think they will get a lot of people coming to the Guest House from the airport area."
He said the Whitehaven community's needs have been a focus since they began designing the hotel.
"[The hotel] is important to the city of Memphis, and especially Whitehaven, because it shows a real investment in the community," Branan said. "Whitehaven needs a really nice hotel — there are none out here. We're always very concerned about the neighborhood to be sure that what we do, they appreciate. That's the reason that [Elvis Presley Enterprises] has spent all this time and money in designing this thing. It's going to be absolutely fabulous."