Commissioner ready for new tenant in 'Tomb of Doom' - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Anna Marie Hartman

Commissioner ready for new tenant in 'Tomb of Doom'

Image of proposed "Pyramid Adventure" (courtesy Ericson Group) Image of proposed "Pyramid Adventure" (courtesy Ericson Group)

Even in mothballs, the Pyramid is costing taxpayers more than $500,000 each year in maintenance and security.  For that reason, Shelby County Commission Mike Ritz is ready for the building to take on a new tenant.

"I hope we sell it to somebody so that we can move on, because I don't think it's worth much too the community," he said Thursday.
 
To Ritz, current negotiations with Bass Pro Corporation smell a little fishy.

"The Bass Pro guy just seemed to knock on the door and get their deal, and I don't have the slightest idea how that happened," he said.

Bass Pro announced plans to open a location at the Pyramid nearly two years ago.  According to Ritz, the company has never presented its plan for the facility to the Pyramid Re-Use Committee.  Meanwhile, in the past two years, the city of Memphis has accepted three letters of intent from the sporting goods retailer.
 
Ritz says Bass Pro never presented their plan to the Pyramid Reuse committee.  And yet, in the past 2 years the city accepted three letters of intent from the sporting goods retailer. 
 
"And they'll sit in that mode forever in my mind, because it doesn't cost them to a thing to sit on it and tie up this facility," he said.

Wednesday, Memphian Greg Ericson pitched his plan to buy the Pyramid and build a Disney-esque theme park, hotels, and retail shops.    It would require, "a minimum $250 million dollars investment (and) no tax dollars. No local tax dollars," Ericson said.

At least on paper, it would save taxpayer dollars.

"This just looks fabulous," County Commissioner Steve Mulroy said of the Ericson plan during a meeting Wednesday.

"Our ethical obligation is only one: it's to the taxpayers of Shelby County," he added.

Ritz would not be specific, but said inside sources tell him that Bass Pro Shops will make very costly demands of the city and county in order to occupy the Pyramid.  

"It's going to be a huge request, and I don't think we're up to it," he said.

Whatever goes into the 'Tomb of Doom,' if the city and county don't agree on what's best, "Then we're logger heads and nothing will get done," Ritz said.

Bass Pro Shops' most recent letter of intent expires on January 31st.  The Shelby County Commission is considering a resolution that would ask County Mayor A.C. Wharton not to grant them any more time, should they ask for it when the time comes.


Click here to email Anna Marie Hartman.
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