Main Street Journal

Reshaping the Pyramid


From the May Issue: Main Street Journal Excerpt

By: Chance Blasdel

The Pyramid has dominated the Memphis skyline for over a decade. Yet lately, it has been sitting vacant while various retailers and developers vie for dominance in the landmark’s future. Atop the widely-varied pile is outdoor sports giant Bass Pro Shops.

The Pyramid, built in 1991, has long been a host for sporting events, traveling galleries, and various other attractions which brought both tourists and long-time residents to downtown Memphis. However, with the opening of the FedEx Forum and Peabody Place, attention has shifted away from the once-popular arena to the more modernized side of downtown. Without a large draw like the Pyramid, many businesses on the north side are losing traffic. In an area where local interests often help stimulate restaurant customers, the Pyramid-end-of-downtown is decidedly lacking in interest.

However, all that is about to change. Well, maybe.

For the past year, Bass Pro Shop has been in talks with the City of Memphis to take up residence in the mostly vacant Pyramid, a move that could revamp a dying district. So what would a retail giant like a Bass Pro Shop do with a pyramid-size space? Among the Bass Pro Shop proposals are a vast marina with live fresh-water fish, a test drive area for the full line of Tracker, Tahoe, and Nitro boats all of which are sold at all Bass Pro locations. The downtown Bass Pro Shop would also feature a fully equipped pistol, rifle, and archery range; all of this in effort to pull outdoor enthusiasts from the broad tri-state area. The revamped Pyramid would also house a sportsman-themed restaurant, a hotel, a scoreboard, and movie screen for NASCAR and other outdoor sports, as well as an indoor water fall.

I had the opportunity to speak with City Counci