Pyramid could host sportsmen's paradise - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Pyramid could host sportsmen's paradise

The people charged with building a future for the Memphis Pyramid are shopping the 350,000 square foot and its 1,000 parking spots to Bass Pro Shops, a big-box destination retailer that could anchor a lifestyle mall here.

There is no deal yet, only ongoing talks. But sources tell Action News Five the talks - to bring a massive Bass Pro Shops to the Pyramid - are going well and hold promise.

City Councilman Jack Sammons says the idea is a good one.

"It's a tourist attraction. It's really a destination point," said Sammons. "People come, literally, out of the hills so to speak, to buy fishing and hunting supplies. It sounds like a great opportunity."

Shelby County Commissioner Walter Bailey opposed the construction of the Pyramid and says he worries whenever government makes major deals with private industry. For Bailey, the Pyramid is a quiet reminder of broken promises.

"For the most part, these deals never work for the benefit of the taxpayers. They generate excitement and do a lot of ego-massaging for the politicians who lead the charge for them, but in the final analysis, when you look at the bottom line, they haven't done anything economically for the most part," said Bailey.

Corporate spokespeople for Bass Pro Shops say the company is in preliminary talks.

Robert Lipscomb - who put together the Pyramid re-use committee - wouldn't comment about the status. But if the deal does go through, there are clearly some who will support it.

"We can retain this symbol of Memphis, the Pyramid, and turn it into something that will generate tax revenue. That's the business we're supposed to be in," said Sammons.

Pyramid re-use committee member Scott Ledbetter told Action News Five, the group envisions a pyramid marked on all four sides with a company logo and the word Memphis, visible from the sky.

Ledbetter also says the committee is looking for a tenant who will absorb the $22 million debt already attached to this arena.

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