Study results could make or break Bass Pro deal at the Pyramid - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Study results could make or break Bass Pro deal at the Pyramid

By Jamel Major - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - With Bass Pro Shops still in negotiations with the city to turn the Pyramid into a multimillion dollar regional center with retail shops, restaurants, and offices, the recent devastation in Japan has council members taking note.

"You're going to have families and children there," council member Joe Brown said. "You gotta have something that's structurally sound."

Before the city of Memphis and Bass Pro Shops can move forward on the redevelopment of the Pyramid, a seismic study on land surrounding the building must be completed.  During a meeting with the Memphis City Council Tuesday, Robert Lipscomb, Director of Housing and Community Development, estimated how much the study would cost.

"We looked at the below ground improvement costs, and that's $5.2 to $5.7 million," Lipscomb said. "We have yet to determine what the above ground improvements will cost, and that's why you issue an RFP to determine how much that can cost."

According to Lipscomb, no general fund money from city government will be used. Costs will be paid from state sales taxes from Tourism Development Zone.

"Until you get Bass Pro to say we're willing to move forward this is just an estimate," he said. "We're not going to do this until we get an agreement from Bass Pro."

While it is a complex process, city leaders agree Bass Pro makes it possible to redevelop Pinch Historic District, improve the Memphis Cook Convention Center, and expand the Marriott Hotel.

Council member Harold Collins questioned if it's more feasible to fix the Pyramid or just simply tear it down.

"Is it more feasible to invest the money to undergurt it and fix the topside right, or knock it down with less money and figure out a way to put Bass Pro in a building or facility somewhere else downtown?" he asked.

But councilman Joe Brown says "think again" - the city has already invested a great in the Pyramid. It not only has historical value, he said, it's a city jewel.

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