City administrators leading charge to put Bass Pro in Pyramid

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV0 - Though the agreement with Bass Pro and the city of Memphis expired last week, there was a new push Tuesday to put the sporting megastore inside the Pyramid, with city leaders making the pitch.

City administrators crowded a City Council meeting Tuesday, talking up Bass Pro and its success in the business world, and what it could mean for Memphis and The Pyramid.

"It is the world's leading outdoor retailer with 47 stores, 2.7 billion in annual sales and more than one hundred million visitors annually," Scott Ledbetter of the Pyramid Reuse Committee said.
The City's CFO Robert Lipscomb, who has put his reputation on line for this Bass Pro proposal, insisted Memphis is on the cusp of doing something unprecedented.
"This would be the only city in America, the only city in America to turn an aging into a performing asset," Lipscomb said.  
The city and the county currently split control of the Pyramid 50-50. Council member Reid Hedgepeth said the process is taking too long with both parties at the table, and the city needs total control.
"I hope this does not come back to bite us, but I don't believe we'll ever get anything done with this building if we do not have 100% control over it," Hedgepeth said. 
That could happen in two weeks when Shelby County Commissioners bring up for a third time the issue of selling their share of the Pyramid, the Liberty Bowl, and the Coliseum to the city for $5 million.  But there is vocal opposition to that.

Meanwhile, the concern to get the process moving seems to be legitimate.

Action News Five has a copy of the developmental agreement signed by Bass Pro, but without signatures from both mayors and staff, the agreement is void as of last week.

City council members are very concerned time is running out.

Click here to e-mail Andrew Douglas.