Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pyramid = Bass Pro = Times Square?

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2009 at 3:03 PM

Bass Pro Shops head Jim Hagel "appeared" at the City Council's executive committee today and said he hoped the Pyramid deal would be done within the next 60 days.

"The sooner, the better," he said. "We're ready for this thing to come to a conclusion."

"I think where we are today is closer than we ever have been. We've identified key things that need to be addressed and the things we need clarity on," Hagel said.

City CFO Robert Lipscomb said the Bass Pro project would create redevelopment along Uptown, Danny Thomas, and the St. Jude area, and stretching all the way to the project currently under construction at Legends Park.

"We'd like for the Pyramid to be like Times Square," Lipscomb said. "We want it to have video and advertising all along the building."

Some of Bass Pro's concerns include that fact that the Pyramid is in a flood plain and is not up to current seismic codes. Lipscomb said they are working to identify non-local taxpayer funding sources to address these issues.

Lipscomb also mentioned the possibility of installing solar panels on the Pyramid to generate energy for downtown buildings.

Hagel said the company's store on the east side of the city has done good business even in the current economy, but that Memphis doesn't really understand what Bass Pro Shops look like.

"We think [the Pyramid] gives us the opportunity to do something really special," he said, citing the possibilities to celebrate the Delta Flyway and conservation issues surrounding the river.

Council members seemed happy that the project, first announced in 2005, was finally coming to fruition. They weren't the only ones.

"I'm going to be candid with you: There were times along the way we were disappointed and disillusioned in our lack of ability to come to a conclusion on this," Hagel said.

[In a side note, my column in next week's Flyer, on stands tomorrow morning, centers on the wisdom of using retail to spur redevelopment projects.]

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