Commissioners concerned as county looks to sell share of Pyramid

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Shelby County Commissioners expressed concern Wednesday about losing their voice in the discussion about what ultimately happens to the Pyramid.

At a Shelby County Commission committee meeting, Commissioner Mike Ritz said he suspects the county's shares in the Pyramid will be placed into the City of Memphis' hands next week. Ritz said he believes County Mayor AC Wharton has been assured the seven votes from commissioners he needs to make that happen.

Ritz said while he likes Bass Pro Shops - the company that wants to lease the Pyramid - he has concerns about the deal.

Because it's a lease, Ritz said, the county cannot collect $4.6 million in property taxes each year.

Ritz also worries Bass Pro Shops could shut down in a year and keep the $30 million incentive the city has agreed to grant the company for coming to Memphis. Finally, as a landlord, Ritz expressed concern that the city is responsible for maintaining the land around the Pyramid and keeping the structure sound.

"On deals like this, when a tenant takes a whole building and makes literally hundreds of millions of dollars in changes, the landlord is not usually responsible for taking care of the building, and obviously that's an obligation we should be into," Ritz said.

The resolution would also sell the county's shares of the Mid-South Coliseum, and the land under the Liberty Bowl, for a total of five million dollars.

The vote goes before the full commission next Monday.

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