VOL. 129 | NO. 159 | Friday, August 15, 2014
Graceland Hotel Breaks Ground in Whitehaven
By Bill Dries
With a shovel from the Graceland archives, Priscilla Presley and local leaders broke ground Thursday, Aug. 14, for the 450-room resort-style hotel north of the Whitehaven mansion.
The Guest House at Graceland is the largest hotel project in Shelby County in 30 years, according to Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau president Kevin Kane.
“You keep coming, we’ll keep expanding,” Kane told a crowd of several hundred people on the grounds of what was once an apartment complex and will soon be the site of the hotel.
The fans of the late Elvis Presley lined the wrought iron gates from the apartment complex still surrounding the property as they waited for the event, which came during Elvis Week, the annual observance of the anniversary of Presley’s death in 1977.
Priscilla Presley, the entertainer’s ex-wife, said the project has been designed so that it “doesn’t compete with Graceland.”
“It will be a very approachable place,” she said.
Joel Weinshanker, majority owner and partner of Graceland LLC, said the hotel has been a priority as a starting place to expanding Graceland’s footprint in Whitehaven and meeting demand from tourists.
Local leaders believe the expansion will have a ripple effect on retail and restaurants along Elvis Presley Boulevard for the local economy.