Sillerman Talks Graceland

CKX President and CEO Robert F.X. Sillerman said he hopes to announce general plans for the transformation of Graceland and the surrounding Whitehaven area within the next six months – but approval from local and state officials must come first.

Sillerman, whose CKX bought 85 percent of Elvis Presley Enterprises in February 2005, said the expansion of Graceland will be an “Elvis-themed attraction where you get to contact a broad part of Elvis’ life,” according to the Memphis Daily News.

He said major parts of the plans would be announced “soon – soon being a relative term.”

Sillerman answered questions submitted to the official Elvis Presley-Graceland Web site,, on a 20-minute recording that was played August 14 at the Elvis Insiders Conference at The Cannon Center for the Performing Arts Downtown in Memphis, Tenn.

Sillerman and Elvis Presley Enterprises have said Graceland’s $250 million expansion will include hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, additional exhibits and an expansion of the property along Elvis Presley Boulevard.

Some government funding is expected to be requested, in particular for infrastructure improvements, but neither Sillerman nor government leaders have put a price tag on taxpayer funding. The Daily News noted the area has been designated a tourism development zone and would include tax incentives.

During the past year, the property around Graceland has expanded with the purchase of two apartment complexes adjoining the Graceland Plaza across the street from the mansion.

Sillerman clarified the description in CKX’s 2007 annual report of an Elvis “theme park.”

“As I read that in a public filing of ours, I thought it might be – not misleading – but misunderstood,” Sillerman said. “It’s not going to be something that has rollercoasters and Ferris wheels and things like that.”

He said the redevelopment plans include making the mansion’s looks mirror “the way they were when Elvis passed” 31 years ago, according to the Daily News.

Sillerman said economic conditions will have an impact on Graceland’s transformation but that he doesn’t “think it’s going to slow down what we’re doing.”

“We have to modify to some extent those things that we’re going to initiate at first. It will not ultimately impact what we do. But we have to be realistic to say that as opposed to spending all of the money upfront that we’ll probably break this up,” he said.