Pinch District businesses excited about redevelopment plan

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Though questions remain about the future of the Pyramid and Bass Pro Shops, business owners and operators in the nearby Pinch District are excited about upcoming plans to redevelop the area.

Top brass from the city of Memphis Bass Pro Shops met behind closed doors for hours Tuesday. They were tight-lipped about specifics, but officials say the deal to move Bass Pro to the Pyramid may hinge on the redevelopment of the Pinch District.

Right now, the district is a diamond in the rough, but T.J. Mulligan's General Manager Penney King hopes Bass Pro will turn the Pyramid into their crown jewel.

"It's a perfect match, and it'll bring people from all over to Memphis, and the tourism will go through the roof," King said.

Poag and McEwen would be tapped to redevelop the Pinch District. One project they are working on, in Memphis' Highland area, includes shopping, dining, and residential housing.  In Germantown, they are building housing, offices, retail, restaurants, a hotel, a department store, and junior anchor retail.

And now, the Pinch is on.

"To hire people and more jobs," King said. "It'll bring a lot to Memphis."

Not far from the Pyramid, you will find empty parking lots, dilapidated driveways, and abandoned buildings.  Wharton says that's not the image he wants to project to people coming from all over to visit Bass Pro at the Pyramid.

"People bring people, and that's what you need - more people," King said.

The Pinch District is primed for the plan. Nestled between St. Jude Children's Research Hospital on 3rd and the Pyramid to the West, it's right off I-40 on the South near the Cook Convention Center and Cannon concert hall.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton hopes to finalize the lease and development agreements by next Thursday, but because plans are expanding, that deadline could move.

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