Lipscomb outlines reasons for Bass Pro delays - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Lipscomb outlines reasons for Bass Pro delays

The Pyramid Arena The Pyramid Arena

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Taxpayers have paid millions of dollars over the past several years to maintain the empty Pyramid Arena.  Tuesday, Memphis City Council members learned specific reasons behind the delays in the city's deal with Bass Pro Shops.

Memphis City Economic Development Director Robert Lipscomb went before a City Council committee Tuesday to share good news about funding for the Pyramid Arena.  With the city now buying out the county's interest in the Pyramid, Lipscomb's office has secured $3.2 million in federal funding to take that burden off local taxpayers.

According to Lipscomb, despite the struggling economy, outdoor retailer Bass Pro Shops has not lost interest in turning the Pyramid into a mega-store and tourist attraction.

With all of Memphis waiting for Bass Pro to finally sign a binding development deal, Lipscomb revealed the hold up: A deal like Bass Pro has never happened before in Memphis, and a transition from a government entity to a corporation takes time.

According to Lipscomb, Bass Pro is working to meet requirements to turn the Pyramid, a government-run facility, into a corporate facility.

One of those steps includes insurance. A group of Bass Pro staffers and engineers flew to Memphis last week to address concerns that the Pyramid is located in a flood plain, and Memphis passed the test.

After heavy rains, Bass Pro engineers tested the Pyramid's water pumps and found them to be in good working condition.  That opens the door for Bass Pro to secure flood insurance.

With that, Lipscomb said, the sixth largest pyramid in the world could soon have a tenant.

Lipscomb is hopeful everything will check out for Bass Pro to sign a binding development agreement before the year is out.

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