Author Topic: Bass Pro's Undoing  (Read 9169 times)

chittlins

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Bass Pro's Undoing
« on: August 20, 2011, 03:06:23 PM »
This is finally going to happen. Good Luck Doing Business with the City of Memphis:

From the CA:



Construction that will turn The Pyramid into a Bass Pro Shops superstore will begin Oct. 11, with plans to open for business Aug. 1, 2013, according to sources familiar with the project.

The city of Memphis and Bass Pro have reached a consensus on the above-ground and below-ground costs for stabilizing the vacant arena, a key hurdle in the nearly six years of negotiations about the Downtown site, the sources said.

Officials believe it will cost $19.5 million to retrofit the structure and $5.5 million to stabilize the soil on the west side of the building closest to the Wolf River Harbor.

On Tuesday, Robert Lipscomb, director of Housing and Community Development and the point man for Pyramid redevelopment, is slated to give the 13-member City Council an update on the project. Council members said Lipscomb began meeting with them individually Wednesday to talk about the project.

"When we're ready to talk, we'll talk to all the media at the same time," said Larry Whiteley, manager of communications and outdoor education for Bass Pro Shops.

Since Bass Pro began negotiating with the city about The Pyramid in 2005, the company has expressed concerns about the seismic stability of the structure. Experts say the land beneath the arena could be subject to liquefaction -- when solid ground becomes like quicksand -- in an earthquake.

In January, Bass Pro and seismic experts called for a detailed test of a scale model to see if the building could survive an earthquake or if retrofitting was needed.

With the city and the Springfield, Mo.-based retailer agreeing on the stabilization costs, planners have been able to set a timeline for construction and completion.

Beyond transforming the arena, the project is expected to inspire a redesign of the area around The Pyramid, focusing on the connections among the building, the Mississippi River, Memphis Cook Convention Center and the historic Pinch District.

"The Pyramid and Pinch Historic District have received the most attention, but the city of Memphis redevelopment vision is much bolder," Lipscomb said in an interview earlier this year. "It is not about the addition of a retail magnet and a distinctive retail district, but more precisely, it is about building a thriving, active convention center district."

Lipscomb is proposing the city purchase Shelby County's share of the convention center, which would then be renovated, but not expanded. That part of the project is expected to cost roughly $60 million. The city also expects to purchase the old Lone Star Industries property, which features neon "Memphis" signs, for $12 million to $15 million.

Bass Pro is expected to invest at least $33 million in the project.

The city plans to float bonds through the Center City Revenue Finance Corp., the finance arm of the Downtown Memphis Commission, which would be repaid through increases in state sales tax revenue from new retail businesses in the Tourist Development Zone.

Tourist Development Zones divert the increased collections of new tax revenue from businesses within the designated areas back into specific public-use facilities, such as The Pyramid or Memphis Cook Convention Center, instead of sending that revenue to the state.

Last year, the city and Bass Pro signed a lease for the retailer to occupy the redeveloped Pyramid for an initial period of 20 years, with seven five-year renewals, for a possible total of 55 years.

The Bass Pro Shops store at The Pyramid will re-create a Delta "cypress swamp," with a large body of water on the ground floor and cypress trees stretching into the upper reaches of the refurbished building.

Visitors would travel on elevated walking paths, above a swamp stocked with freshwater fish.


Video:
http://www.wmctv.com/category/195967/video-landing-page?clipId=6161528&autostart=true

Memphis is getting the Old Delta Queen back for cruises on the Sippi again


sanddunerider

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Re: Bass Pro's Undoing
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2011, 07:10:56 PM »
WOW!  thats sounds like quite a project! 

KBCraig

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Re: Bass Pro's Undoing
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2011, 09:05:48 AM »
That sounds like a good way to lose a lot of money. Those are huge numbers!

sanddunerider

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Re: Bass Pro's Undoing
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2011, 09:16:04 AM »
thats a fact!  HUGE!!!   HUGE numbers.!

Ozark Outlaw

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Re: Bass Pro's Undoing
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2011, 09:52:38 AM »
I am glad to hear that some sort of investment is being made with the pyramid. It sounds like everyone is doing their homework, and I am confident that everything will turn out just fine.

okiebluegrass

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Re: Bass Pro's Undoing
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2011, 05:39:20 PM »
Sounds like a really cool change to the building

thelarsonsix

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Re: Bass Pro's Undoing
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2011, 07:51:56 PM »
I'm not that familiar with Memphis so could someone help me out here? What is the pyramid and why is this a bad thing for bass pro? I wouldn't think they would make that kind of investment without a reasonable expectation of getting a good return on it. I'm sure Cabelas has put some hurt on them in theast few years but it seems like they're still doing pretty well.
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sanddunerider

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Re: Bass Pro's Undoing
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2011, 08:56:39 PM »

thelarsonsix

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Re: Bass Pro's Undoing
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2011, 09:13:03 PM »
So it is an actual pyramid. I guess that does fit since Memphis was once the capital of Egypt.
"He takes a log, then he just cuts away everything that don't look like an injun" - Jed Clampett

Junior

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Re: Bass Pro's Undoing
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2011, 03:14:32 PM »
The pyramid was used as a concert venue and sports arena in the 1990s...I saw Elton John, Hank Williams, Jr. and Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood perform there. Inside it was a modern arena. It has a small observation room at the top with great views of the Mississippi River and the Arkansas farmland and city of Memphis. I'm glad to hear it will be put into use again. I never would have thought it would be a Bass Pro Shop, though!   Here is a bit of trivia for you: Dick Clark of American Bandstand fame once considered using the Pyramid as the American Music Awards Hall of Fame Museum. He passed. As far as I know, the museum never was developed anywhere.
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thelarsonsix

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Re: Bass Pro's Undoing
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2011, 08:07:03 PM »
So, why is this a bad idea for Bass Pro again?
"He takes a log, then he just cuts away everything that don't look like an injun" - Jed Clampett

Ozark Outlaw

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Re: Bass Pro's Undoing
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2011, 10:09:15 AM »
So, why is this a bad idea for Bass Pro again?

I suppose some people are skeptical with all of the money being invested in the project. Especially since certain inner city dwellers of Memphis have never seemed too interested in outdoor hunting gear. However, I have no doubt that the business will attract a lot of people from the surrounding countryside.

Just my opinion only.

Junior

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Re: Bass Pro's Undoing
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2011, 10:28:22 AM »
I think Pro Bass using the pyramid is fine. Plenty of room for a big aquarium. It will be a good tourist draw. Beale Street is nearby. Graceland not too far away. Tunica casinos just down the road. There are plenty of hunters, fishermen, and sports enthusiasts who will visit there. The nearest big sporting store is down in Stuttgart, Arkansas...home to Mack's Prairie Wing. If you have not heard about this place you are living a sheltered life.
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chittlins

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Re: Bass Pro's Undoing
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2011, 11:39:14 PM »
Most developments in Memphis ultimately fail. I'm somewhat from Memphis. I lived there in my high school years and my Mother and Brother are still there. I send lots of time there. The city is horribly ran. Well, at least for the last for the last 20 years. It was kinda tongue in cheek and kinda not.

The Pyramid was a horrible boondoggle. The observation deck has never been open to the public. The acoustics were absolutely horrible and the seats incredibly cramped. It was once supposed to get the Dick Clark thingy. It actually has a good amount exhibit hall space in it that's never been used and thats where most of the Bass Pro. It never made a profit. Memphis hired a con man to initially develop it named Sidney Slinker. He once owned the Denver Nuggets. Memphis thought it was going to get an NBA team 15 years before they did and the arena they built for it was outdated for the one they landed. The FedEx Forum is a fantastic multi purpose arena. (I'm going to rub it in, my brother's company has a suite).

It's hard to find all the initial promises of the Pyramid Development but here's a snip from Sidney's obit:

That same year, he turned his attention to the Pyramid, a 20,300-seat arena in Memphis, Tenn. City officials hired him to manage the pyramid-shaped arena and develop it into a world-class attraction, complete with a rock 'n' roll museum, a Hard Rock Cafe and amusement rides.

"It's going to be a monument like the Statue of Liberty or the Eiffel Tower -- a signature for the city," Shlenker told the New York Times. "The difference is, this will have something inside it."

But in 1991, Shlenker was ousted as manager of the Pyramid after failing to obtain financing for his share of the project. The companies that he was involved with on the project later filed for bankruptcy protection.



My favorite memory of the Pyramid is calling the hogs at intermission of a Grateful Dead show. Half the place was watching the Ark/Unc semifinal game via the tv's in the suites.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 11:49:59 PM by chittlins »

chittlins

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Re: Bass Pro's Undoing
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2011, 12:05:31 AM »
Here's an article from the wayback machine. It fails to mention the amusement park slated for the north end of Mud Island:

A monumental controversy may be at an end : Memphis is settling in with its $65-million auditorium pyramid.
AMERICAN ALBUM December 16, 1991|GARY MOORE | SPECIAL TO THE TIMESYou can't call it the Great American Pyramid any more. Now it's just The Pyramid.

This city's new steel blue, 32-story sports arena beside the Mississippi River is shaped like a colossal Pharaoh's tomb, but as it opened for business last month, even its original name lay shrouded in controversy.

"It's been the focal point of this city for three years now," said Pyramid marketing manager Larry Enis as he recalled the communal euphoria--and letdown--that accompanied construction of the six-acre, 20,000-seat pleasure-tetrahedron.

Peering down at Enis as he spoke was an authentically noseless replica statue of Ramses II, adorning The Pyramid's entry ramp. "It's had its ups and downs," Enis said of the $65-million Pyramid. "But now it's up."

The Pyramid thus has become another fixture in the Egyptian theme that has beguiled this city since 1819, when it was named in memory of an ancient Egyptian city on the River Nile and cast itself as the jewel of the "American Nile." There are hieroglyph motifs at the zoo and an ancient mummy at Memphis State University. So in the mid-1980s when MSU needed a new basketball arena, a recurrent Memphis dream was revived: Why not build a Great Pyramid?

As 15,000 people poured in for The Pyramid's grand opening to hear the country music group the Judds, and then five days later when MSU won a game beneath the high-tech, million-dollar scoreboard as another large crowd looked on, there was jubilation and muted fatigue. At one time, The Pyramid was going to be much more than the brushed-steel shell that finally emerged.

In September, 1989, more than 100,000 cheering Memphians had lined the bluffs as fireworks illuminated a helicopter that dropped a 600-pound shovel for The Pyramid's groundbreaking.

This was to have been the birth not just of a new megalith but of a new Memphis, according to The Pyramid's promoter and manager Sidney Shlenker, who then owned the Denver Nuggets basketball team. Formerly chief executive officer of the Houston Astrodome, Shlenker promised to add other attractions to the Great American Pyramid. There was talk of "an Egyptian boat ride through the underworld of the dead," a rock music museum, a college football hall of fame and a Hard Rock Cafe.

The intent was to increase tourism to this city-county area of more than 800,000 that is best known as the "Home of the Blues" and as the site of Graceland, the estate of the late rock 'n' roll king Elvis Presley.

Instead, Shlenker ran into financial problems--his defenders blamed bad economic times, his critics said expectations had been unrealistic--and filed for bankruptcy. Shelby County Attorney Brian Kuhn said creditors are seeking $15 million in unpaid debts from Shlenker, who left town, taking the name "Great American Pyramid" with him, citing his copyright. Mortified city fathers took over the project, renaming it "The Pyramid."

But the arena had problems even before Shlenker showed up. Local officials had decided to build the project not high on the river bluffs as admirers of monumental architecture had hoped, but down on a mud flat that was sneered at by many, including City Council member Mary Rose McCormick, as "a hole." The Pyramid peeks up from 60 feet below street level, hunkered against a web of high freeway ramps where the I-40 leaps the Mississippi.


I've been a big fan of finding  a tribe to buying Mud Island and putting a casino there to make it viable. It's lost money since day one in spite of a fantastic little ampitheater. Heck Memphis lost the Memphis Belle.