Bass Pro: Deal or no Deal? - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Bass Pro: Deal or no Deal?

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - An announcement concerning the future of Memphis' most famous vacant building could come Monday, when Bass Pro's president meets with city and county leaders to outline his plans for The Pyramid.

"I think we're done with negotiations," said Shelby County Commissioner George Flinn. "I think this is a deal, and if we don't have a deal, tomorrow is a deal breaker."

Another proposal on the table is an entertainment venue with an aquarium and convention space. Cummings Street Missionary Baptist Church has also expressed interest in buying The Pyramid.

Flinn says that if Bass Pro fails to offer local leaders a contract Monday, it will be time to move on. "My sincere desire is that it does happen. We've been down this road too far to trash all of this, but at same time, not willing to wait any more time."

And when it comes to the Pyramid, time is money. Each year the facility sits empty, it costs taxpayers more than $500,000; that adds up to a grand total of nearly $2.5 million since the city closed the arena in 2004.

Even if Bass Pro makes a deal, city councilman Jim Strickland wants to make sure the deal is truly a great catch for Memphis, and not just bait that will catch taxpayers.

"I have a lot of questions right now that I want the answers to," he said.

One of Strickland's questions deals with Bass Pro's desire to use the tax dollars it generates to help fund the project.

"If those tax dollars are not sufficient to cover the costs, is there something in the contract that says the city tax payers will have to pay up? That's what I'd be concerned about," Strickland said.

After years of negotiations with the outdoor recreation retailer, city and county leaders are about to learn if Bass Pro is going to bite, or if it's time to go after a bigger fish.

The city and county could vote on the Bass Pro deal in as little as 2 weeks.

Click here to e-mail Lori Brown.

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