Elvis Presley's Graceland under expansion

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 11/20/16

MEMPHIS — Elvis Presley’s Graceland continues to be a popular tourist attraction that is in the process of a $137 million expansion.

Currently, visitors to Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., are invited to tour Elvis’ home …

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Elvis Presley's Graceland under expansion


MEMPHIS — Elvis Presley’s Graceland continues to be a popular tourist attraction that is in the process of a $137 million expansion.

Currently, visitors to Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., are invited to tour Elvis’ home and a number of exhibits across the road; however, Elvis Presley Enterprises is modernizing the Graceland experience.

The first phase of the expansion project was completed in late October, with the opening of The Guest House at Graceland, located a short distance from Elvis’ home. The Guest House is a 450-room resort featuring traditional guest rooms and 20 specialty suites.

In a series of interviews, Presley’s ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, explained that it was always Elvis’ desire to have a guest home for visitors and family.

“Elvis was known by friends and family for his warm and generous southern hospitality,” Graceland Holdings Managing Partner Joel Weinshanker said in a press release. “We are proud to be making his wishes come true with this one-of-a-kind resort experience, bringing our guests closer to Graceland than ever before.”

Other highlights of the hotel include an outdoor pool and conference center, along with event and catering areas. Guests of the hotel have five dining options to choose from that include a 172-seat restaurant serving southern food, a 139-seat restaurant with southern pub cuisine, a lobby bar, coffee bar and room service options.

The Guest House has additional conference rooms and an 11,000 square foot grand ballroom.

The suites on the top floor The Guest House were designed with input from Priscilla and are reported to resemble the upstairs decor of Graceland.

“Elvis: Past, Present & Future” is expected to open in spring 2017, and will feature a number of new additions to the surrounding area of Graceland to complete phase two of the Elvis Presley Enterprises expansion project.

The new entertainment complex will be five times the size of the current visitors center, according to a press release from August, and will feature an Elvis career museum titled “Elvis: The Entertainer.”

The complex tour will begin with a look back to Elvis’ time in his hometown of Tupelo, Miss. Visitors will also travel through various time periods of Elvis’ career, learn more about his time at Graceland and explore an exhibit to highlight his service in the U.S. Army. Once completed, it will be the largest Elvis museum in the world.

A current automobile museum on the property will be replaced with a new facility. Other complex features include a 200-seat theater inside the automobile museum, a venue for live music performances and other events and a “Discovery” exhibit to showcase Elvis’ life and career in further detail.

An exhibit featuring the career of music producer Sam Phillips, who discovered Elvis and many other artists, will also be located at the complex.

Elvis’ two planes will continue to be part of the visitors center attractions, and two new restaurants will serve guests — both named after Elvis’ parents, Gladys and Vernon. Gladys’ Diner will serve classic American cuisine, while Vernon’s Smokehouse will serve traditional Memphis barbecue. Guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy a coffee bar, ice cream shop and a number of new retail stores.

“We are thrilled to bring Elvis fans the opportunity to explore the things that Elvis loved and what he would have loved today — the music, the technology, the experiences,” Weinshanker said in a press release. “Whether you’ve been to Graceland multiple times or have yet to make the trip, we know that you will be entertained, educated and inspired like never before.”

The price tag for The Guest House was $92 million, while the entertainment complex is expected to cost $45 million.