Developers in Nashville, Tennessee may tear down a home formerly frequented by the King himself, Elvis Presley.
Presley’s Graceland homestead in Memphis is a major tourist attraction to this day, but a small home owned by Colonel Tom Parker — the man responsible for securing Presley’s $35,000 RCA Victor recording contract and scheduling television appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and others — is in danger of being demolished, Billboard reports. Parker owned the home from 1953 until 1992; Presley frequented and stayed at the home when in Nashville. Around the time of Parker’s death in 1997, the building was purchased by Steve North and used as the location for his law practice. North grew up in the area and would see Presley, among other stars, at the home and around the neighborhood.
Nashville, particularly Music Row, has been a target for developers raising apartments and high rises for the 80-plus people moving to Music City on a daily basis.
“All of a sudden, I’ve had a bunch of people say, ‘Oh, you know, it’d be a shame to tear it down. Let’s find a buyer,'” said North. “My comment is basically, ‘Where were you the last four years when it’s been on the market?'”
North has attempted to find a buyer over the course of four years, but hasn’t been able to find anyone willing to pay market price without tearing the home down.
RCA Studio A on Music Row was on the chopping block in 2014 before Ben Folds — who rented the space for 12 years — pushed to preserve the space and find a philanthropist to buy the property.
“Nashville hangs its hat on the fact that it’s Music City, USA,” said Robbie Jones, a board member with Historic Nashville Inc. “And if we keep tearing down our music landmarks, how much longer can we claim to be Music City, USA with a straight face?”
Nashville Metro Councilman Anthony Davis wants to hold a public community meeting with the car wash developer to help delay a zoning hearing scheduled for Thursday, saying, “If nothing else, deferring allows for the applicant to answer questions… and it allows a little more time, in case there is a buyer out there that could possibly satisfy the community desire to preserve this building.”
North has already signed a contract with the developer, but preservationists hope the space can be saved.
“Until the wrecking ball’s out there actually knocking it down, we’ll never give up,” said Jones.