Sources say Pyramid deal finally done

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A final deal between Bass Pro Shops and the City of Memphis to fill the empty Pyramid Arena may be ready.

The antipasto recipe had to include one thing on grand opening night at Ferraro's Pizzeria in the Pinch District.

"Really good Prosciutto like this," said owner Andrea Ferraro.

Ferraro believes "the pinch" is incomplete without an occupied Pyramid.  She said she was happy to hear a deal may finally be fully cooked.

"We're going to have a couple years construction," said Ferraro.  "All the customers coming down here, it's going to be wonderful."

Sources confirmed Friday that city leaders and officials with Bass Pro Shops have agreed on a long-term lease after nearly five years.

"Good things take time," said city councilman Myron Lowery..

"This was not a normal contract," said Lowery.  "This was a tedious contract."

Lowery negotiated with the massive outdoor retailer himself when he served as Mayor Pro-Tem.

"The mayor gave us a timetable as to when Bass Pro would be in this big wonderful building over here," said Lowery outside The Pyramid, "and our entire city will benefit."

While all signs point to a final agreement, Mayor A C Wharton is not yet revealing details.

At one point, an initial 20-year lease was being considered with seven additional renewal periods.

The empty Pyramid would become a $100 million regional center with shops, restaurants and wildlife exhibits.

The adjacent Pinch District would receive a facelift and much needed exposure thanks to thousands of new visitors.

"I think the Pinch District is on the move," said Andrea Ferraro.  "We're looking up."

Details of the lease agreement between the city and Bass Pro are expected to be announced next week.

Copyright 2010 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.