Demolition begins inside Pyramid Arena - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Demolition begins inside Pyramid Arena

Less than two years from now, the belly of the Pyramid Arena will be unrecognizable. Less than two years from now, the belly of the Pyramid Arena will be unrecognizable.

(WMC-TV) - Less than two years from now, the belly of the Pyramid Arena will be unrecognizable.

Monday, demolition was in full swing to transform the 32 story iconic structure into a Bass Pro outdoor retail superstore and tourist attraction.

Bulldozers have been eating their way through the abandoned tomb of doom over the last week.

"The only thing that will be remaining will be the arena level, the intermediate level - which I called the mezzanine level - and the plaza level," said Alan Barner of O.T. Marshall Architects. "All the sky boxes will be removed."

The current work is the first of four phases, which begins with the removal of all the arena seats and interior walls."

Phase two, which begins in mid-January, is to protect the Pyramid from the Mighty Mississippi's tributaries at its doorstep.

"Between the Memphis Pyramid and the flood wall, we're putting in a below-ground buttress wall," Barner said. "In the event of large magnitude earthquake, it will prevent any kind of Pyramid displacement into the Wolf River Harbor."

Phase three will make the Pyramid sturdy. It sits on the New Madrid Fault line.

"It's also in that third phase package is the retrofit of all the mechanical and electrical systems for the building," Barner said.

Bass Pro will take over renovations and move the project into phase four.

"They begin their improvements August of 2012," Barner said. "They have one year from which they will open the store. August 1, 2013."

O.T. Marshall says the materials they clear out will be recycled. A new I-40 on ramp is under construction behind the arena, and the neighboring Pinch District is bracing for its own transformation.

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