Graceland officials present at County Commission meeting about plans for Whitehaven

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The battle between the city of Memphis and Graceland is heating up again.

Elvis Presley Enterprises owns Graceland.

The estate says it wants to build a multi-million dollar facility in Whitehaven that in total would add more than a thousand jobs to the economy, but they need tax payer dollars to do it.

The city's initial response was to decline the proposal saying the police and fire department would take a hit and developers want to use taxpayer money.

On Monday, Graceland officials spoke at an afternoon County Commission meeting to discuss the plan for the multi-million dollar facility.

An attorney for Elvis Presley Enterprises spoke to Commissioners and explained the grand plan of an exhibition center, performance venue and a factory.

Their plan also offers opportunities for youth.

They're asking for a TIF-tax increment finance district extension, to increase by 15 percent.

Commissioner Terry Roland was quick to voice his support, citing the jobs that would come to the Whitehaven area.

The attorney said this is a window of opportunity for development and that there is a substantial amount of undeveloped land around Graceland.

One point of concern was if the proposed performance venue would be in competition with FedEx Forum.

Commissioners talking about the need for that to be hashed out in the coming days.

The majority of commissioners said they need to have more discussion and meetings on the issue.

"In my five years on the County Commission I'm not sure if I've received this many calls from leaders, but I did not hear that it's dead or that they're adamantly opposed. I think there has to be more discussion from both sides of the aisle," said Commissioner Mark Billingsley.

Another question Commissioner Willie Brooks brought up was if the workers would be paid a living wage and if that is at least $15 per hour.

Graceland officials said the wages would be livable but specifics would be provided down the road.

The next discussion is expected to be May 9 in committee.

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