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|"LET'S STOP FIGHTING"
EPE OFFERS THE CITY OF MEMPHIS A PEACE OFFERING
"Let's take a step back and allow the people who really care about Memphis to see if we can come to an agreement in the next 30 days," Weinshanker said. "We're going to commit to
basically take that step back — to basically stop the rhetoric — to not initiate anything."
The businessman's words on Dec. 18 were a distinct departure from the contentious relationship he and his firm have had with Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland's administration.
Weinshanker has even threatened to run a candidate against Strickland in the next mayoral election.
Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) has one pending court case against the City of Memphis related to its plans for a 6,200-seat arena. Another complaint, brought in June, was
dismissed last week. EPE plans on appealing.
On Tuesday, Weinshanker said he was willing to wait on building the arena until the judicial system decides whether or not that proposed Graceland venue would actually be
prohibited under the FedExForum arena use agreement between the City of Memphis, Shelby County, and Memphis Grizzlies.
Instead, to the council, he offered a large economic carrot alongside his olive branch: Weinshanker again reiterated plans for a manufacturing facility that would bring 1,000-plus jobs;
he touted the recent deal EPE announced with leading entertainment company Live Nation Entertainment; and he said two more Hallmark films are in the works to be filmed at
Weinshanker said that $1.50 of every ticket sold for the Live Nation deal will be donated to Whitehaven-area causes.
The city, for its part, seemed receptive, but noted some procedural steps it believes are needed for the parties to move forward.
"What Mr. Weinshanker put forth today, which is a '30 days to come to a resolution,' is what we've been talking about all along," said Memphis chief operating officer Doug McGowen.
"There's a very easy remedy for this. That is to, as he said, set aside the arena. But, you have to do that procedurally and separate that from anything else."
At the core of the issue, McGowen said, is whether EPE is willing to withdraw, remove references to the arena, and then resubmit pending applications for changes to its TIF
districtand development plans at Graceland.
Doing so would be an easy way for the proposed developments to get off the ground, McGowen said.
"We're very encouraged by all of the development that has happened at Graceland. And we're very encouraged by all the proposed development that's going to happen at
Graceland," McGowen said.
The city has no problem with EPE's proposed changes to the Graceland TIF — increasing the percentage of the tax increment that would be used from 50 to 65 percent, McGowen
said. The city is awaiting the development proposal for the 1,000-job manufacturing and warehousing opportunity.
"They talked today about made in Memphis manufacturing and some warehousing opportunities that they would like us to consider. We have been ready for more than a year since
we were first made aware of these opportunities to receive their development proposal and any incentives that they need to go along with those," said McGowen. "To date, nothing
has been filed."