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VOL. 131 | NO. 171 | Friday, August 26, 2016


Bill Dries

Last Word: $60 Million, Frozen Graceland and Wreck It Ralph's Return

By Bill Dries

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The federal government’s problem with a law the Tennessee Legislature passed earlier this year is serious -- $60-million serious.

And Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, in Hickory Hill Thursday, said he’s working on a compromise that would have the Legislature undo what it did this year when the new legislative session begins in January.

But if the feds don’t go for it, Haslam said the Legislature will go back into session before the end of the year.

Haslam also saying he is “not a fan” of the local moves in Memphis and Nashville to decriminalize possession of less than a half ounce of pot.

Graceland is going to run the tours of Prince’s Paisley Park studio that begin in October.

The Thursday announcement is the latest in two weeks for Graceland Holdings, which opens the Guest House at Graceland resort hotel later in October and next spring opens a $45 million 200,000 square foot entertainment complex across Elvis Presley Boulevard from the mansion.

A few more details on the Graceland end of this:

The Paisley Park deal, as outlined in a business plan made public Thursday, is that Graceland will provide the capital improvement costs and initial operating costs to start the tours in October.

The Graceland involvement is through a subsidiary called PP Management LLC.”

Nevertheless, as soon as the word got out Thursday the headlines were playing up the link to Graceland.

Minnesota Public Radio floated the idea of “Frozen Graceland.”

The Washington Post headline: “Prince Fans Will Get A Graceland.”

Salon: “Each Generation Gets Its Own Graceland.”

And way back in April, Fortune magazine called Paisley Park “the next Graceland.”

The cover story of the new edition of The Memphis News examines the Whitehaven plans Graceland has underway and the link Graceland Holdings is making to the Whitehaven community with the expansion of Graceland. The goal is to change much of Elvis Presley Boulevard – not just the areas Elvis Presley Enterprises bought about 20 years ago in anticipation of some kind of expansion. This all comes as Whitehaven is on the upswing. And Graceland as well as Whitehaven leaders are reaching across what has traditionally been the border that separates tourist from Memphian in our city.

A PDF of the entire issue is on this website now. The hard copies are in the racks Friday morning with the web story to go up online Friday afternoon.

There is at least one more announcement coming from Elvis Presley Enterprises and it will probably come by fall.

The way tour buses enter Graceland is probably going to change according to Joel Weinshanker, the managing partner of Graceland Holdings, who didn’t go into any detail.

But previous majority owners of EPE made it clear several years ago they wanted to relocate the tour bus area now in Graceland Plaza to the same side of the boulevard as the mansion on land just north of the mansion’s walls -- between the mansion and the Guest House.

Behind the Headlines on WKNO TV is a reporter’s roundtable on a very busy week here in Memphis. Our guests are Bernal Smith, publisher of The New Tri-State Defender, Chris Herrington, columnist with The Commercial Appeal, and Toby Sells, reporter with The Memphis Flyer. The show airs at 7 p.m. Friday.

Ubiquiti Networks Inc., the tech company owned by Robert Pera, the majority owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, is expanding its reach and recently announced a move into consumer electronics.

If you were a gamer in the 1980s – was it called being a “gamer” then? – the Cossitt Library is the place to be Saturday.

Yes, I said the city’s original public library, a red sandstone castle in the late 19th century altered to a much scorned mid-20th century modern front is opening a “Pandemonium” film series with Memphis film maker Craig Brewer and Black Lodge Video co-owner Matt Martin on the second floor of the Cossitt that is vintage games with 1980s movies based on those games – Tron, Mario Bros., Wreck It Ralph, just to name a few.

The theme changes in the next three in the series which also serves to be part of the effort to activate that part of the bluff overlooking the riverfront that includes the rear of the U of M law school and Memphis Park.

Relevant Roasters becomes French Truck Memphis and then moves into Crosstown Concourse. A lot of change for a two-year old business.

Turns out we are discovering the same thing about the coffee business that we did recently about the beer business when Wiseacre Brewing pitched its concept of a brewery in the Mid-South Coliseum.

These businesses can grow quickly and assumptions about business owners in their own world who are content to crank out small batches of coffee and beer to a relatively stable market are not always true.

French Truck estimates it will roast 3,000 pounds of coffee a week at Crosstown, four times what its current shop on Tillman does now.

Former Mississippi Governor William Winter has become synonymous with the concept of racial reconciliation in the American South in the aftermath of the civil rights movement of the 1950s-1970s. He’s been added as a recipient of the National Civil Rights Museum’s annual Freedom Awards to be given in October.

There are a few names in any sport that break through to become broader “brands.” That was the case with Shirley Muldowney who became a brand before it was called that.

She was a drag racer who made her name – as we said in those days – in the 1960s and 1970s.

Muldowney is in town for the weekend World Series of Drag Racing at the Memphis International Raceway – not racing, just watching, signing a few autographs and as things go these days, likely posing for many, many more selfies.

More lead-in to the college football season with a look at the state of being a quarterback in the SEC.

Other Reading:

WaPo Opinion Piece on a Mississippi death row case.


The Fed chief will probably move the markets Friday with a speech that many expect will send a definitive signal about the interest rate and whether it stays the same or goes up.

Factoring into that, unemployment benefit applications slipped last week.

On the retail front, Dollar General and Dollar Tree have something in common – I mean more than the word dollar. And Sears goes for additional debt financing as its sales continue to slump.

PROPERTY SALES 0 133 1,342
MORTGAGES 0 131 1,047