Pyramid arena in Memphis to become Bass Pro Shops store
Posted: Monday, November 24, 2008 11:22 am
By: The Associated Press
The Messenger 11.24.08
MEMPHIS (AP) — The Shelby County Commission last week approved a development agreement that would turn the vacant, 32-story Pyramid arena into a Bass Pro Shops retail location.
Under the agreement, Bass Pro Shops has 12 months to sign a long-term lease on the arena. The company will pay $35,000 a month for 12 months, and there will be a $500,000 penalty if it backs out of the deal.
The commission was the only agency left to vote on the agreement. The vote was 9-3, overriding a 4-4 committee vote last week that rejected the deal.
The arena opened in 1991, but sits empty beside the Memphis riverfront. The last event there was a concert by Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band in February 2007.
The Pyramid was the city’s primary sports and entertainment venue until 2004 when the FedExForum opened. At the time the Pyramid opened, city officials hoped it would become a symbol identifying the city like the Gateway Arch had done for St. Louis.
The Pyramid was the former home to University of Memphis basketball and the NBA Grizzlies.
Opened at a cost of $65 million, it never lived up to financial expectations, though it often hosted top concerts, sporting events and exhibits. It held more than 1,300 events and drew more than 10 million attendees.
It hosted such stars as Michael Jordan, Prince and the Rolling Stones and was the location of the 2002 Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis heavyweight championship fight.
Local officials had been talking with Bass Pro for almost three years about redeveloping the arena. Plans are for Bass Pro to turn it into a 150,000-square-foot store.