The Uptown Partnership and the City of Memphis announced today that the renovation of young Elvis Presley’s teenage home will be completed this summer with a grand opening slated for 10:00 am, August 9, 2004. In a partnership with Elvis Presley Enterprises, the Elvis Suite has been designed to accommodate tours for fans and the public during Elvis Birthday celebrations each January and Elvis Week every August.
The Presley residence is now part of the new Uptown Square community in the innovative Uptown Memphis development. The apartment was originally part of Lauderdale Courts, a Roosevelt-era WPA housing development. The Presley family lived in this close-knit neighborhood from 1949 to 1953. Here Elvis met other Memphis musicians, practiced in the basement laundry room and gained confidence by performing for family and friends in the community courtyards. He walked to nearby Beale Street, where he listened to the blues artists of the day. He had easy access to Sun Studio and Pop Tunes record store around the corner.
Originally slated for demolition, Lauderdale Courts was saved by the appeals of Elvis fans and the Memphis Heritage preservation organization. The colonial revival 347-unit apartment community is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Renovated and renamed Uptown Square, the model mixed-income property is Memphis’ first wireless apartment complex complete with business center, pool, fitness center, media and coffee rooms.
“We asked fans and the public for their opinions on what we should do with this important American treasure,” stated Henry Turley, managing partner of The Uptown Partnership, a Belz-Turley Community Development Company. “Considering our residents, the best solution was to open the apartment for public tours on the two weeks that mean so much to loyal Elvis fans.”
Public tours will take place from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, August 10 – 15, 2004. Timed-tour tickets will be on sale August 9, 2004 at the corner of N. Lauderdale and Alabama streets, near Uptown Square’s leasing and community center at 252 N. Lauderdale.
“Living at Lauderdale Courts, Elvis had access to a myriad of musical experiences,” explained Jack Soden, president and CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises. “The proximity to Beale Street, Sun Studio and Pop Tunes made this community the perfect environment for his incredible talent to grow and flourish.”
“Uptown Square was a national treasure worth saving,” said Memphis Mayor, Willie W. Herenton. “Early leasing indicates that it is a great mixed-income community. From doctors and lawyers to working and public-assisted families, it is what innovative housing is all about.”
Uptown Memphis is the newest development of the Downtown Memphis renaissance. The resurgent 100-block Downtown neighborhood, east of Harbor Town, will soon feature 1,000 new homes and apartments, along with public improvements such as new parks and streetscapes. Uptown Memphis is the concerted public-private revitalization by downtown Memphis developers Jack Belz, CEO of Belz Enterprises and Henry Turley, CEO of Henry Turley Company and the City of Memphis.
Uptown Memphis Thanks Elvis Fans
Thank you for submitting your ideas on how to use the apartment where Elvis Presley and his family once lived. We received literally hundreds of exciting, creative and thoughtful submissions from Elvis fans all over the world.
As you know the former Lauderdale Courts is undergoing a $36 million historic renovation and is now named Uptown Square Apartments. Phases I and II of Uptown Square are now complete and are leasing. The Presley apartment is part of Phase III, currently scheduled for completion this summer. The apartment’s location within an occupied residential community presents us with the challenge of preserving Elvis’s legacy while not causing too much interruption or disturbance to the daily lives of the community’s residents.
After reviewing all the emails and letters we received regarding the apartment, it became apparent that these wonderful suggestions and opinions were working beautifully with our own development and renovation plans. As a result, the apartment is being furnished in a style that mirrors the time when the Presleys lived there, complete with period appliances and fixtures.
The week of Elvis’ birthday in January and Elvis Week in August will be open for tours for Elvis fans and the public to see the apartment and get a feeling of what it was like to live in Lauderdale Courts in the late 1940s and early 1950s.
For Elvis Week 2004 the apartment will be open to fans and the public for tours from Tuesday, August 10th through Sunday, August 15th. For more details on tickets and times for tours, please check our website at www.uptownmemphis.org.
Thanks again for all your input and don’t forget to check back here for more details on plans for the apartment and the tours coming soon!
Alexandra V. Mobley
Asset Management and Marketing Manager