Sillerman’s Real Estate

Among other talents, like an ability to roll up concert promotion companies, Robert F.X. Sillerman has a strong background as a real-estate buyer and he’s planning to put his skills to use around Graceland and possibly Las Vegas.

Sillerman, who recently turned up in a venture to purchase the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, is also involved in a real-estate rollup around the place where Elvis took care of business in Memphis.

Elvis Presley Enterprises has kept a longtime dossier, according to the city’s Commercial-Appeal. For more than 20 years, the company’s CEO, Jack Soden, kept a file on Disneyland in California and its efforts to control the surrounding property. In 1971, Disney persuaded Florida to create a district around Walt Disney World and the company oversees all development. Back in Anaheim, Disney is suing the city to stop construction of 1,500 condos near the happiest place on earth.

"It took billions to fix what grew up around Disneyland in California and when they went to Florida, they bought 27,000 acres and assembled it before anyone knew," Soden recently told the Commercial-Appeal. "I’ve always thought if we make Graceland as big a draw as it can be, we are going to suffer if we don’t control the doughnut of land around us."

Former SFX chief Sillerman, through his company CKX, bought 85 percent of Elvis Presley Enterprises for $100 million in 2005. Since January 2006, EPE has bought up $13.4 million in property around the mansion and owns or controls 105 acres. That doughnut isn’t exactly Beverly Hills, but EPE’s purchases include a 182-unit apartment complex and a former auto dealership on Elvis Presley Boulevard, the paper said.

Sillerman dropped by Memphis recently to deliver his plans to "dramatically expand" the visitors center and exhibit space to showcase Elvis memorabilia, and mentioned a few other surprises.

One was a possible amphitheatre on the premises. New hotels are on the plate, too, along with more convention space.

"He put some real meat on the bones of what he had previously discussed as a concept, Shelby County Mayor AC Wharton told the Commercial-Appeal. "I’ll say it’s comprehensive, but I can’t really get into details."

Whatever Sillerman pitched, he has already hired Orlando, Fla.-based Bob Weis Design Island Associates to improve the area around Graceland, the paper said.

Meanwhile, in Las Vegas, Riviera Holdings Corp., which owns the hotel/casino, received a $336.5 million buyout offer from a group of investors that includes Sillerman and Starwood Capitol Group founder Barry Sternlicht.

The investors offered $27 per share in cash March 26th, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. CKX, Sillerman’s company that owns all things "American Idol" and Elvis, is not involved in the investment pitch. The investment group is led by Paul Kanavos and Sillerman, the managing members of New York-based Flag Luxury Properties LLC.

Las Vegas-based real estate developer Brett Torino is also part of the investment group.

The 26 acres the Riviera currently sits on is one of the few remaining properties along the Strip potentially available for redevelopment.