Groundbreaking for new Graceland hotel

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As Elvis Presley’s wife Priscilla put it, Elvis’s dreams are coming true. Thursday, Elvis Presley Enterprises broke ground on the new hotel coming to Graceland.

Developers say this project has been in the works for years, but the Memphis City Council only heard about it on May 1st. City officials say Elvis has everything to do with everything being worked out just in time for Elvis week.

Priscilla Presley told a huge crowd of his biggest fans, “We get to see his dream come true on this property.”

Presley came to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Guest House at Graceland.

“Elvis had plans for Graceland,” she said. “He had plans for the property, he wanted to do so much of it.”

WREG first told you about this project being presented to the city council on May 1st. Just more than three moths later, there are shovels in the ground.

Councilman Harold Collins will tell you that’s because they were not asking for any money from the city.

“These are tax dollars, these are opportunities for other investors to come in. We have to convince them that this is the right thing to do,” Collins said. “It’s hard to say no to the king of rock ‘n roll.”

Collins says this is the first step in helping the Whitehaven area make a new name for itself. Turning around an area that’s recently taken a turn for the worse, but will always be know on as Elvis’s hometown.

Kevin Kane is president of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Center. He says Elvis is a huge money maker for the city.

“What people don’t realize is the heartbreak Hotel is the highest occupied hotel in the state of Tennessee,” he said. “Running close to 90 percent occupancy year round.”

Kane says this Guest House project is bigger and better, and will bring in much more money and tourists to the area.

“This is a multimillion dollar week for us like it is every single year,” he said. “Thank God for the King of rock ‘n roll”

The new hotel will mean the Heartbreak Hotel will soon be a thing of the past. When this 450-room, $70 million dollar hotel opens up next August, the one across the street will close down.

The hotel will provide up to 100 jobs, increase property values and attract new business along Elvis Presley Boulevard according to those behind it.

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