Council members hear pitch for Pyramid amusement park - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Council members hear pitch for Pyramid amusement park

Artist's rendering of the Pyramid amusement park. Artist's rendering of the Pyramid amusement park.
Memphis City Council members were presented with the plan Tuesday. Memphis City Council members were presented with the plan Tuesday.

Investors pitched a plan to the Memphis City Council Tuesday that would place an amusement park in and around the Pyramid downtown.

Memphian Greg Ericson introduced the council to his team, including Michael Burgess, a South African hotel financier, and Barry Funt, an attorney and commercial real estate financier.
    
Ericson pledged he wouldn't drop the ball and leave the city with the bill.

"We'll put it right into the contract, steps that we'll take and benchmarks that we'll hit on the way of construction," he said.

The entertainment marketing entrepreneur laid out a grand plan: to turn the Pyramid and Mud Island into two themed resorts: Pyramid Resorts and Harbor Island.

In the plan, the Pyramid becomes an indoor amusement park with the fastest and tallest roller coaster in the world.  Also included are a massive retail center and an enclosed path to the Cooke Convention Center.

The unused portions of Mud Island would hold two 400-room hotels, with the historic Grand Carousel in one of them.

Ericson said he planned to take on the historic Zippin' Pippin roller coaster, upgrade Mud Island Park and its monorail, add and renovate restaurants, and build a waterfront path to connect all the attractions.
    
Council members were hesitant to turn over prime real estate without assurance the Pyramid would come first.

"Any deal is going to be contingent on solving the Pyramid problem," council member Shea Flinn said. "If it doesn't do that, it's not a deal I'm interested in."

The team at Tuesday's presentation did not offer any documentation to prove they have the funding for the project. Afterwords, Burgess said initial funding was ready.

"We're going to finance it initially with our own cash," he said. "The first fifty percent."

Members of the group told council members said they would pay off the Pyramid's $12 million dollar debt, and the plan will not interfere with FedEx Forum's non-compete clause.

Finally, they added, if Memphis does not move forward with the plan, someone near Tunica will.


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