Graceland seeks building permit for 'Westside Project'
Thomas Bailey Jr.
The Commercial Appeal
Elvis Presley Enterprises has applied for a building permit to start replacing the complex of old tourist buildings across the street from Graceland.
The company values the work associated with the permit at $6.7 million, according to the permit application filed on Friday. But more building permits for future phases are expected.
Elvis Presley Enterprises has estimated a total cost of $30 million to $35 million to complete what it calls the "Westside Project." The shops housing souvenirs, eateries, a car museum and other entertainment are on the west side of Elvis Presley Boulevard.
The plan is to remove the old buildings and build 200,000 square feet of new space that will comprise a new museum of Elvis’ cars, two restaurants, a multipurpose building, six retail spaces, a museum themed “Elvis the Entertainer,’’ and other exhibits.
Elvis Presley Enterprises officials have said they plan to move Elvis’ gold records, guitars, jumpsuits and other memorabilia from Graceland into the new space across the street.
Hnedak Bobo Group designed the project and Grinder Taber & Grinder is the contractor, the permit application states.
The 46-acre site includes land acquired from where Craft Manor and other apartment complexes once stood.
The two Elvis airplanes will remain in place.
The site plan for the planned development shows the new buildings and a plaza forming a half-circle around a central building for ticketing and orientation.
Visitors will continue parking north of the complex.
The Westside Project includes razing Heartbreak Hotel, but only after construction of the new 450-room resort hotel called The Guest House at Graceland is completed and opened Oct. 27. The new hotel is on the east side of Elvis Presley Boulevard, north of the mansion.
Elvis Presley Enterprises spokesman Kevin Kern declined to comment Monday about the building permit, but said a "topping out'' ceremony for the new hotel will be Thursday.