Honeymoon in Mississippi?

Resort planned on site of Elvis’ Mississippi ranch

March 01, 2002 |

It’s well known that Elvis Presley was married in Las Vegas, but unlike the movie, he did not spend his “Honeymoon in Vegas.” He spent part of it instead on his 163-acre ranch in northwestern Mississippi, about 10 miles south of his Memphis home.

Hoping to capitalize on the enormous fan following the king of rock ’n roll continues to enjoy around the world 25 years after his death, an Atlanta developer is planning a $500 million resort and entertainment complex on the site of the former Circle G Ranch. The complex would be called the Elvis Presley Ranch and Resort.

J.D. Stacy, an Alpharetta, Ga., developer who holds options to buy more than 500 acres of property in the area, including the ranch site, was to go before the DeSoto County Planning Commission Feb. 28 to seek approval of zoning changes that would clear the way for the resort. If the commission approves the plans, the developer would then have to negotiate use of the Presley name, image and likeness with Elvis Presley Enterprises, Memphis, which controls Presley’s licensing agreements, according to company spokesman Bobby Davis.

Though details of the plans were not being released, in mid-February, Stacy made a presentation to the DeSoto County Chamber of Commerce. The complex is to contain two championship golf courses with driving range, a nine-hole golf course, two 500-room hotels, time-share condominiums ranging in price from $600,000 to $1.2 million, honeymoon cottages, three different-sized wedding chapels, reception hall, 4,999-seat concert hall, recording studio, an entertainment hall featuring a 1,199-seat stage and movie auditorium, a museum, day-care facility, convention center, retail shops, sports complex, a bed and breakfast, two lakes, gardens and RV camping areas. The “DeSoto Appeal” reports that the complex also will contain replicas of Graceland, Presley’s Memphis mansion, and the White House, said to be Elvis’ dream home.

Gresham Smith & Partners, Alpharetta, Ga., is the project’s land planner, engineer and architect. The firm’s golf course design group also is designing the golf courses, says Zan Thompson, the Gresham Smith’s lead land planner for the project.

The developer hopes to break ground on the project in August, on the 25th anniversary of the entertainer’s death. Completion is planned for 2004.

Nearby Horn Lake, Miss., officials support the project, which is expected to create 2,500 construction jobs, and 2,500 more jobs after the development is completed, in addition to producing tax revenues.

“These people are not asking for a penny from us, and they are offering to give 5 percent of the gross back to the county,” says Don Wilkinson, executive director of the Horn Lake Chamber of Commerce.

Wilkinson says that Stacy expects three-to-five million visitors a year, mostly from Europe and Japan, to visit the resort and purchase the condominiums.

Presley sold the ranch in 1974.

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