Sillerman Is Committed To Whitehaven

Bullish Sillerman is short on development details. Graceland's corporate owner was in Memphis on Wednesday bearing assurances that he's committed to a massive redevelopment of the area surrounding Elvis Presley's iconic home.

Emerging from a City Hall meeting with City Council, Greater Memphis Chamber and Graceland officials, Robert F.X. Sillerman, chairman and CEO of CKx Inc., had some advice for Memphians:

"They should get out of their chairs and go to Graceland five or six times now and five or six times again during the year so they can say they remember it before we turned it into the spectacular that it is going to be."

Sillerman, whose entertainment company added Graceland to its portfolio in 2004, and his legal team met with council chairman Harold Collins, chamber president John Moore and Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden.

Collins said discussion included the status of plans to improve Elvis Presley Boulevard and importance of a top-quality redevelopment for residents of long-established Whitehaven neighborhoods that border the site. Public improvements and the creation of a tourist-development zone are among incentives that city government has put on the table.

"There was some discussion about timetables, but there was nothing definite except for Mr. Sillerman making a commitment that they were willing to do the development," Collins said.

This is a project that's going to be a massive undertaking. It's important that before it's unveiled, the community gets to share in the presentation of the project," Collins added. "It's important that Mr. Sillerman understands this is a high level of people he's going to be talking to when he unveils his plan."

City engineers have scheduled a meeting to present preliminary information about the road project and get residents' input from 6 to 8 p.m. April 26 at Whitehaven Community Center, 4318 Graceland.

The revamp of Whitehaven's main street will start at the Brooks Road intersection and extend perhaps as far south as Shelby Drive, with state of Tennessee approval necessary since it's also U.S. 51.

Collins said Sillerman didn't give details of the development master plan, which CKX said in its annual report last month was being reconfigured after original designs were discarded.

"He did not talk specifics of what the design would be or what it would look like, and I did not press him on that," Collins said. Chamber officials wouldn't comment, citing confidentiality of pending development matters.

CKX confirmed sale rumors last month after The Wall Street Journal reported that the company might be sold to a private-equity division of JP Morgan Chase. CKX spokesman Ed Tagliaferri said Wednesday that there was nothing new on the potential sale.
 

Source: Elvis Unlimited / Updated: Apr 15, 2010 
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Reactions

Randall1 (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 17, 2010report abuse
Hopefully Mr. Sillerman's detailed plan what we can expect to see will be released soon and maybe some renderings of the new look. I think we will be very pleased. He claims it will be spectacular!! We shall see and hopefully soon!
MarkJ (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 17, 2010report abuse
All I care for is a state-of-the-art museum that's indept and teaches you all about his life both on stage and off. As it is now you don't get that. It's all a mess and spread out all over the place. Everything needs to be all in one nice large facility. All the costumes, artifacts, cars and even the planes need to be under one roof or one ticket. I don't know how an Imax theater would work with Elvis. You can only do so much with Imax format. I would reccomend a hi-def theater with a regular-sized movie screen. There definitely needs to be some kind of night life or something for people to do in the area after dark. But being in that part of town they need to make sure it's not a teenage hangout or it'll be doomed from the start and taken over by the gangs. If they want kids to come then they need to make it family friendly like Disney is where they have top notch on grounds security to where crime is never an issue.

What they shuld do, imo, is follow the direction of Walt Disney's family and turn his home into a real museum. They could keep the first floor as is and build the extension of the museum on the back of the house to where you walk into it from the jungle room. But I guess since it's a historical landmark registry that they can't add on. As for the road itself, I would like to see them put in islands down the middle of the boulevard with tall oak tree lines. This would spiff up the area and make it attractive compared to the dull open road it is now. They should also put in a digital billboard sign advertising Graceland.
Randall1 (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 17, 2010report abuse
I personally look forward to the many changes that will take place in the Graceland area. It is long overdue folks! I would also like to see an IMAX studio, expansion of the Sirius/XM studios (Elvis Radio), also a tv studio where local broadcasts could be done live from Graceland everyday, and interviews and specials could be filmed there.

State of the art exibits, with many interactive features. There is also room for a theater like they have at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville where specials events could be held and small intimate concerts could be done. How about bringing back Elvis Presley's Memphis nightclub where live shows are done of all kinds of entertainment, special Elvis week events etc.. We had some great times there at the one on Beale Street, this time have it at Graceland.

Definitely, have more night life, afterhours concerts, a dance place, etc.. keeping people in the area. and the list of possibilities are endless. What would you like to see and do in the Graceland area? The mansion and grounds should and will stay the same. Any additional thoughts? TCB
Brian Quinn (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 17, 2010report abuse
Great news. Personally I feel that the Graceland Mansion itself should not be left as it is. I do not think it should be a museum but a home. The area surrounding it needs to be changed drastically, perhaps pedestrian only with themed pavillions containing artifacts that are now on display in the mansion and an IMAX Cinema. The mansion itself would still be open to visitors of course.
MarkJ (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 16, 2010report abuse
Time is ticking away. The longer they wait the worse the area will get which in the end will result in less and less of tourism.
lamp light (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 16, 2010report abuse
I'm hoping they don't turn Graceland into Disney World just for money. It needs to be done tastefully with nothing taken away from the mansion but i'm afraid this is going to happen. Sadly it's all about money i hope the family will have enough respect for Elvis not to let this happen this was his home that he loved so much.
Mike Landsdown (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 15, 2010report abuse
Correction: The beautification of the pubic areas surrounding Graceland was actuallly made possible through a federal grant, NOT a City of Memphis grant.
Mike Landsdown (profilecontact) wrote on Apr 15, 2010report abuse
Let's hope that the resulting plans, when ultimately announced, (along with the City of Memphis grant for beautification of the city-owned areas surrounding Graceland) will result in a tasteful, yet fun environment where Elvis, his music, and overall contribution to the 20th Century can be celebrated and remembered. This can be seen as a positive way to help maintain interest in Elvis, but hopefully the family will ensure that no major changes are made to the Graceland site itself, especially the mansion.

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