Bass Pro deal for Pyramid may be in final stages

By Kontji Anthony - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - The Pyramid costs more than $1.5 million to maintain, but has been out of use for half a decade.  But in less than 24 hours, the City of Memphis wants the final deal in hand from Bass Pro Shops, and according to Mayor A C Wharton, the deal may be in its final stages.

"I will tell you significant progress is being made," Wharton said.

Last week, Jim Hagale, the President and Chief Operating Officer of Bass Pro Shops, to Memphis to iron out details.  Officials from Bass Pro and the city of Memphis worked face-to-face on the final versions of the lease deal, development agreement, and building improvement clauses.

Wharton was originally planning to go to Bass Pro headquarters in Springfield, Missouri Thursday to put his John Hancock on the documents.

"We're hoping it won't be necessary for anybody to go," he said.

Instead, Wharton said, talks are taking place over the Internet.

"I'm reading E-mails and drafts every day," he said. "We're hoping that meeting will not be necessary."

Wharton's team is working with Bass Pro on seven areas of critical importance: the business terms, open area office space, the "Landlord Contribution," the Bass Pro work task list, construction standards, the construction timeline and the funding timeline.

Wharton said they are close to a deal.

"We might be close enough to an agreement that it would not be fruitful to go up there," he said. "If you can do it by an email, why spend dollars going up there?"

After the April 29th deadline was set, the city spoke with Bass Pro about redevelopment of the surrounding Pinch District.  The city hasn't said if that will push back the deadline, but in order to open the megastore and amusement attraction by November 2011, the 29th is their date to make it final.

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