Gulp: Bass Pro Wants $110 million



The price of getting Bass Pro Shops into The Pyramid has gone up to $110 million — almost twice the $60 million cost of the original building 20 years ago.

That's the amount of public financing sought in an application the hunting and fishing retailer filed with the Center City Revenue Finance Corporation.

Basically, the city would gut and fix up The Pyramid and Bass Pro would stock it with merchandise and attractions.

Funds would also be used to purchase 34 properties in the Pinch District east of The Pyramid and the Lone Star cement company property south of The Pyramid. The offer is $7 million for the Pinch properties and $10 million for Lone Star and its cluster of towers with the word "Memphis" on top next to the Interstate 40 ramp.

Morgan Keegan is the lead bond underwriter. O. T. Marshall Architects is the architecture and engineering firm. It also did Tiger Lane. Poag & McEwen is the proposed retail developer of The Pinch. Robert Lipscomb, head of the Division of Housing and Community Development, is the project mastermind. There is no clarification of fees, but Lipscomb and interim mayor Myron Lowery and their allies on the Memphis City Council made a big fuss over the proposed fee that would have been charged by Henry Turley for his aborted Fair Ground project at the Fairgrounds, so presumably they are well under 10 percent.

The application says the bonds "will be secured by tourism zone revenue which is projected to exceed $24 million annually." A total of $42 million of the financing is from Recovery Zone Economic development bonds.

Bass Pro is moving along concurrently with two other major downtown projects: Beale Street Landing, with a price tag of more than $35 million and a shortfall of several million dollars, and the relocation of Pinnacle Airlines to One Commerce Square for a multi-million dollar package of incentives including tax abatements.

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