Nearly a year after Michael Jackson's death, Joe Jackson and members of the Jackson Family Foundation early this month announced plans to build a $300 million, 300-acre Jackson family-themed attraction in Michael's hometown of Gary, Ind.
In the mold of Graceland—the Elvis Presley museum in Memphis—Joe Jackson wants to build a Jackson Family Museum and a Michael Jackson Performing Arts and Cultural Center, which together will include a 300-room hotel, shops and restaurants, a golf course and a conference center that are expected to attract 500,000 to 750,000 visitors a year.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Gary Mayor Rudy Clay. "This will draw people here from all over the world."
If it's built, visitors to the new museum, which would be located approximately 30 miles from Chicago, would pump $100 million to $150 million a year into Gary's economy, according to Clay.
"If" because lawyers for the Michael Jackson estate already are resisting the project—which they said they knew nothing about—and because it's not yet clear who will fund it.
Still, the City of Gary—long downtrodden thanks to the 1960s decline of the U.S. steel industry, around which the city was built—is hopeful, according to Clay. "Sometimes it's hard to hope when you've been down so long," he said. "But right now, hope is alive."