Elvis Lives! Expanded Graceland West Coming to Palm Springs
The owner of Elvis Presley's former Palm Springs estate has big plans, and now money, to pursue his vision of turning the California mansion into "a 21st century Elvis" tribute.
With an infusion of $11 million from Los Angeles-based investor Saint Juste International, Reno Fontana said his King Holdings would be creating, around the mansion, a complex including parking, a recording studio with a Sun Records facade, a chapel and guest houses, all themed around "the King."
Fontana and his family live in the 5,500-square-foot mansion at 845 West Chino Canyon Road, which Elvis and Priscilla Presley purchased in 1970 and moved into with then 2-year-old Lisa Marie. Elvis still owned the house, where he spent about three months a year, when he died in 1977, though he and Priscilla divorced in 1973.
Fontana has been offering public tours of the property since last year for $20 per person.
No memorabilia remains at the mansion, but as he creates the new attraction, Fontana said he plans to change that. He has his eye on items including Elvis' third airplane (the other two are at Graceland) and a piano that was once housed at Graceland.
But other plans will put a more modern spin on the Elvis legend, Fontana said.
"We're talking a futuristic design makeover," Fontana explained. "If people want to see Elvis as he was, go to Graceland. If you want to see a 21st century Elvis, when you walk in the property, you will see a place fit for a king who sold a billion records."
Design elements will include, for instance, imported red marble tile floors and mirrored ceilings.
The mansion encompasses three separate wings and boasts what Fontana says is the largest rose garden in Palm Springs. Elvis recorded five songs in the home for RCA, including "Blue Spanish Eyes and "Promise Land," he added.
The renovations may close the property to visitors for a time this fall, and the interior renovations are expected to be completed by Christmas.
Fontana said the guest cottages, which visitors will be able to rent for the night, would include one designed after the rustic Tupelo shack where Elvis was born, and another on the Memphis housing project where he lived as a teen.