Commissioner demands answers about Pyramid plan

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - A Mid-South lawmaker demanded answers Wednesday about what exactly will happen if Bass Pro Shops comes to the Memphis Pyramid.

Earlier this week, a Shelby County Commission committee voted in favor of selling the county's share of the Pyramid, the Mid-South Coliseum and the land beneath the Liberty Bowl to the city.

But Wednesday during a heated, 35-minute exchange at a Shelby County Commission meeting, Commissioner Mike Ritz demanded answers from Memphis CFO Robert Lipscomb about why the agreement on table with Bass Pro only calls for the lease - not purchase - of the Pyramid. Ritz argued they would pay more in taxes if they bought it.

"It'd be much better for the community the taxpayers to get the 4.5 million dollars a year in taxes than a million dollars a year in rent," Ritz said. "That's pretty easy to figure."

Lipscomb insisted the city wanted to keep the land and ownership of one of the city's prized jewels.

"We're talking about a property that's going to attract one to two million...three million people a year, coming to Memphis," Lipscomb said. "That's going to pay a heck of a lot of taxes, sales taxes, other taxes - hotel/motel taxes."

Right now, if the full Shelby County commission approves the deal to hand over the Pyramid, Mid South Coliseum and the Liberty Bowl to the city, the county will receive five million dollars in return.

That is expected to come in front of the full commission on Monday.

Click here to send an email to Andrew Douglas.