Elvis Fans Celebrate At Grand Opening Of Graceland Expansion

MEMPHIS, TENN (localmemphis.com) - Four decades after Elvis Presley sang his last tune, Graceland opened a new $45 million attraction Thursday.

Priscilla Presley cut the ribbon open "Elvis Presley's Memphis." The massive new complex opened across the street from the Graceland mansion.

Tourism and Graceland leaders said they believed the new addition could one day draw a million visitors a year.

The complex offers visitors a state-of-the-art entertainment center and features new restaurants, shops, soundstages and pop culture exhibits. At the center of it is a 20,000 square foot museum, displaying the most comprehensive and chronological shrine to Elvis Presley in the world.

Its impact is expected to reach far beyond the gates of Graceland.

"We're widening the net and giving something for everybody," said Kevin Kern with Elvis Presley Enterprises.

"This is a tremendous game changer. We are taking one of our legacy assets, basically the foundation of our tourism and hospitality industry the last 35 years, and as I said we've given it a total reboot, a total rebrand, and it's something that's going to be tremendous in attracting visitors to this destination from all over the world," said Kevin Kane, president of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Elvis fans have been waiting for this day for quite awhile.

Jan Orris traveled 2,000 miles from her home in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada to be one of the first inside the brand new Elvis museum at Graceland.

"It's beautiful. It's awesome. It's well put together, and it's fun," said Orris, "It makes you shiver and have little hairs stand up on the back of your neck to think of all the things Elvis has done."

Between the new complex and the Guesthouse Hotel, Graceland has added nearly 300 new jobs bringing total employment to 500.

The old strip malls at Graceland will be torn down and replace by green space in time for Elvis Week in August, the 40th anniversary of his death.

 

 


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