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FAQs About The Future Of Graceland

March 16, 2006 | Other
From the EPE site; an FAQ on the future of Graceland:

For many, many years, members of the Elvis Presley Enterprises management team, including Priscilla Presley and Lisa Marie Presley, have dreamed of building visitor center, hotel and Elvis exhibition facilities far superior to the nice facilities we have developed thus far. Today, with the resources and leadership available to EPE with its new parent company, CKX, headed by Robert F.X. Sillerman, it appears that our dreams could be coming true very soon. We anticipate much of it could be completed within three years. Recent news coverage of CKX/EPE’s plans for the future of the Graceland properties has been inaccurate and misleading. Reporters misconstrued some of the information they were given. Here, we answer the most frequently asked questions from Elvis fans and our colleagues in the tourism industry.

Will Graceland tours close temporarily during the development of the new facilities? No. Graceland tour operations will not be interrupted at any time as a result of the construction.

Will the Heartbreak Hotel on the Graceland complex be closing soon to make way for the new hotel? No. The proposed new hotel could be as much as three years in development. Heartbreak Hotel will continue in full operation at least until the new hotel opens, and it is possible that Heartbreak Hotel could continue operating on a permanent basis after that. We recently completed another round of upgrades to Heartbreak Hotel for the comfort and enjoyment of our guests and are about to start work on a new second elevator to supplement the operation of the existing one. We will continue to make the unique experience of staying at Heartbreak Hotel a pleasure for all our guests.

Will there continue to be new and exciting exhibits added to the Graceland experience between now and when the new exhibit facilities open? Absolutely. Each season, as always, there will be something new to see as items rotate in and out of our primary exhibits at Graceland Mansion that present the story of Elvis’s life and career, and in the annual re-theming of our Sincerely Elvis Museum across the street in Graceland Plaza. This year’s new exhibit for Sincerely Elvis just opened. It is called Elvis ’56 and it takes a month-by-month look at the year Elvis Presley was catapulted to superstardom. Also just opened is a new exhibit in the Graceland Crossing shopping center called Elvis After Dark, which is themed around the nightlife of Elvis in his personal and professional life. Watch for news coverage and a posting in News on Elvis.com when we formally announce these exhibits the week of March 20.

Is opening the upstairs for tours part of the plan for the Graceland tour experience? No. Our company policy and the personal policy of Graceland Mansion’s sole owner, Lisa Marie Presley, is that the upstairs is to remain private. See our regular FAQ item about this matter.

Will there be new construction on the Graceland Mansion grounds or any remodeling of the house? No. Our goal and our sacred responsibility is to preserve the Graceland Mansion and grounds and maintain their historical integrity forever. One change in the tour experience once the planned new museum opens in our new visitor center is that we will have the space to present the story of Elvis’s life and career in greater context, so the trophy room and the racquetball court at the mansion no longer will be needed for that purpose. The trophy room then can be used for special Elvis exhibits yet to be determined and the racquetball court can return to its original look.

References have been made to Disneyland or Disney World in descriptions of the new development of the visitor center properties. Does that mean Graceland is about to be surrounded by a theme park setting including rides? Some media coverage has suggested there might be a Vegas or hotel casino type of look – is that true? No. Any references that have been made to Disney have been because Disney is thought of as setting and maintaining the platinum standard for beautiful visitor facilities and outstanding guest service. Some press misconstrued that. And any suggestions that we are going for a Vegas type of look are pure fabrication. Our goal with the new development of our visitor center properties is to create an elegant, beautiful atmosphere for the Graceland visitor experience.

Will the Elvis Radio/Sirius 13 studio booth in Graceland Plaza go away because of the new development? Someday the booth could be relocated somewhere else on our visitor center property, but that will not happen anytime soon. Elvis is the only artist with his own full-time radio station and ElvisRadio on Sirius Channel 13 has become one of the best ways fans around the world celebrate Elvis. The dee-jays will continue to create their popular shows and the booth will continue to be one the must-visit stops when visiting Graceland.

Will the Graceland Plaza visitor center - including the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum and the Elvis airplanes exhibit - and the Graceland Crossing shopping center go away? Eventually, most or possibly all of the structures on these properties will be removed to make way for new facilities. But, that will not happen anytime soon. Whether the automobile exhibit and airplanes will remain in their current locations or be moved elsewhere on our complex remains to be determined. The current Graceland Plaza and Graceland Crossing and all the shops and attractions there will remain in full, uninterrupted operation for a good while to come and we will continue to maintain and refine these properties in the meantime.

There have been statements about possible improvements to the neighborhood that the Graceland complex is part of. What’s that about? On February 23, 2006, CKX chief Robert F.X. Sillerman, with the supportive presence of Tennessee Congressman and Senate candidate Harold Ford, Jr. and EPE CEO Jack Soden, reached out to local business and government leaders at a breakfast meeting of the Memphis Chamber of Commerce with some basic information about our plans. Then, Sillerman, Ford and Soden had meetings with Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton, Shelby County Mayor A.C. Wharton, and some key business leaders. The goal was to garner the support of the local government and business community for the Graceland developments and to inspire them to redevelop and revitalize the area leading up to and surrounding the Graceland complex. Community revitalization efforts in recent years, although successful to some degree, have been slow. Our hope is that the CKX/EPE major reinvestment in the Graceland complex will touch off a faster paced beautification and revitalization of the whole neighborhood. This would be a pleasure for Elvis fans and others visiting Graceland and, of course, could do wonders for the economy of our community and the betterment of the lives of our neighbors.

When will more details be available and how can I be in the loop?
We are in the very preliminary planning stages at this time and our plans and decisions are continually evolving. What we have stated thus far is a general overview of our intentions. Over the course of these next few years of development we will share with you as often as possible any available updates, including drawings, photos, etc., along with information about development in the surrounding neighborhood. The postings will be in News here on Elvis.com. Each time we post an update article, we will issue an alert via our free e-newsletters service, so do please sign up for the newsletters so you won’t miss any of the information and excitement. Periodically, members of the Elvis Insiders will be treated to special advance information and images on their members-only message board.
Source:EPE - Elvis Presley Enterprises
moodyriver wrote on March 17, 2006
I put my trust CKX/EPE to do him justice and to do it with respect... I just hope they don't turn Graceland into a joke. It sounds like it's going to be. Atleast at the moment...and I get made fun of enough for liking Elvis as it is already... He's not a joke to me and I hope the very people who are supposed to PROTECT him do so. I hope I get to visit before all the changes happen. I think all the new exhibits will be neat and I'm not knockin' the plans...just a little leery. It's sad living less than 3 states away from TN and people from Sweden, England, and other countries over seas have made the trip a thousand times over...and I can't even get out of Pennsylvania...
Clambake67 wrote on March 17, 2006
I certainly can relate to being made fun of for liking Elvis. maybe if his daughter had concentrated more on protecting her father's legacy and image than defending a creep like Michael Jackson , he would have some respect today in society. The best decision she ever made was selling her interest in the estate to CKX. In less than a year they have shown more interest than she ever did in 20.
Sean Ryan wrote on March 17, 2006
so what if people make fun of you cause you like elvis? the only reason people do that is cause they dont understand why we would like elvis so they make fun of him.its people who mock us i feel sorry for cause they havent got a life.
Lefty wrote on March 17, 2006
People make fun of Elvis and his fans. I'm used to it. Elvis is an easy target because of his uniqueness. The staying power of Elvis is best seen in his incredible popularity--in spite of the jabs. It's for this reason I get a chuckle out of EPE's attempt to protect his legacy. Elvis has been dragged through the mud for 50 years and he is still the King of Rock N Roll! My advice to EPE is to give the fans what they want, (ie In Concert, On Tour, etc.), do a quality job with the "property", and promote his music to generations to come. That's not too much to ask. For the most part EPE has done a pretty good job with the legacy thus far.
efan4ever wrote on March 17, 2006
I agree with you all.
moodyriver wrote on March 18, 2006
For the most part I've discovered the people who do make the cracks and remarks are truly ignorant to his career and his acomplishments--they can't see past the last few years of his life. But they can't possibly understand the kind of life he had, or the person he was, or what he was feeling...what his motives were for anything he did--I read about him and I still wonder and am trying to understand. The only joking I have to deal with currently is at work--I design the print materials for my place of work and the vice president always asks me if I can put side burns on everyone when I work on the pictures in my photo editor. Thinks it's hilarious. I don't...I did put side burns on one of the guys back in manufacturing just to give the VP a laugh. And today I was told, "put your book down, the man's dead, and that book will still be there when you get back to your desk"--I was at lunch and reading "Elvis & The Memphis Mafia" and the office manager needed me--but when she saw my face after she said it, she apologized...I just raised my eyebrow at her. I give up anymore. It's there loss...
Dixieland Rock wrote on March 18, 2006
I notice many people that poke fun at those who listen to Elvis music, usually follow whatever is the current music trend at the moment. It's like they are more concerned about being accepted by others & pleasing he crowd. So they just listen to what's popular to fit in. And that's fine. I'm not saying everyone does that but I have seen people do that. But I listen to music regardless if it's popular or not. For years people have tried getting me to listen to this new music trend or that new music trend. Those fads go by & those same Cds are usually in the budget bends in stores in a few years & forgotten. I like music from all eras including new singers. I listen for the enjoyment. So in 2006 I'll play an Elvis Cd regardless of what "they" may say.
JerryNodak wrote on March 19, 2006
I remember what it was like being an Elvis fan around the time those annoying "bugs" from Liverpool crossed the "pond". I just didn't pay any attention to the critics and went right on listening to Elvis.
untamedhawk wrote on March 19, 2006
You know what they say about opinions...lol Anyway, the ones that make fun aren't into the understanding of the man Elvis was, nor are they into the music. Elvis was a bluesman through and through, with a veriety of flavors that he listened too. What I don't understand is why one person would make fun of anothers musical taste (Fill me in). Just beacause we don't like M&M (slim shadey), or anything in the catagory of headache doesn't make us wierd, it just makes us a united group of people that understand the truth about a man that had so much magic (and willing to admit it). I think the FUN MAKING comes from people that know this man has something, but he doesn't rap, screeeam, and or recite vulgar lyrics (lol, not realeased anyway).... THE TRUTH IS Elvis Presley wasn't the first to try this style of music, but he was the ONLY ONE that ever made it work..... SO! Is he worth making fun of? Sure............ If what they think they're listening to is music, and also IF anything they have available can stand longer that one man that's known around the world regardless of language. OH YEAH, I might also add, "And Lennon said it best" BEFORE ELVIS THERE WAS NOTHING! And please forgive me for this analogy........ but the two worldy names most spoken are JESUS, and ELVIS. What's up with that? I'd say even Jesus like HOUND DOG hahahaha ps. If you're taking the last part of my (OPINION) wrong ........ DON'T
Devon wrote on March 20, 2006
It all comes down too one thing, Elvis was, is, and always will be the King!!!