Bass Pro/Pyramid & Convention Center - Council Approves $215M Cost

Tuesday the City Council approved a bond resolution to pay for the conversion of the Pyramid to a Bass Pro megastore and the purchase of both Lone Star Concrete Co. and Shelby County's half interest in Cook Convention Center. Future sales tax revenue from downtown's Tourism and Development Zone, which now is being spent to pay the debt on the Convention Center, is to be used to pay off the bonds.

The Commercial Appeal reports the cost at $215M, with Bass Pro's share at $33M. Click HERE.

The Daily News breaks the numbers down a bit: $75M to buy the County's share of the Convention Center, $12-15M to purchase Lone Star, $25M to retrofit the Pyramid and land along the harbor to meet seismic code, plus $63M the Council approved for the project a year ago. Click HERE.

The Flyer begins to dig into the financing details. Click HERE.

WMCTV/5 has posted the Bass Pro design drawings shown to the Council. Click HERE
Bass Pro plans for the Pyramid
and HERE
RAW: New renderings of Bass Pro at the Pyramid

Strolling the Harbor - Public Access in Mind

Public access along the harbor has long been a downtown goal, and with bikeways and greenways becoming a reality, a few "friends" strolled the section between the Visitor's Center and the Willis/Auction Street Bridge cameras in hand.

Starting out on the blufftop at the new pedestrian bridge that connects the law school to Confederate Park, down the steps off the bluff to the lower-level and the TN Welcome Center, heading north on the west side of the floodwall behind Lone Star and the Pyramid, past the public boat ramp to the Coast Guard facility, and linking back to Willis/Auction Street and the Trolley stop on Main Street. Take a look.

Welcome Stand Up Paddlers to Memphis

Dave Cornthwaite and Tom Evans have taken on a big adventure – stand up paddleboarding down the Mississippi River! The goal: to encourage people to be good stewards of their own part of the planet and to raise money for charities and have fun along their way.

Come welcome them to Memphis and check-out stand up paddleboarding
Sunday (8/14)
@ Memphis Cobblestone Landing and Jefferson Davis Park.

Local paddlers are joining to usher them into the City, some at Shelby Forest, some at the N. end of Mud Island. If you’re a paddler and would like to join the group at Mud Island, contact Brian DeFouw of Outdoors Inc. (901)598-0712, Mark Babb of Ghost River Rentals (901)485-1220, or Keith Kirkland of Wolf River Conservancy (901)486-1919.

Before he heads south on the River, Dave will give a lecture about adventure, motivation, stand up paddleboarding the Mississippi, AND making the most of life in the theatre at Mud Island River Park, Tues. (8/16), noon – 4 pm.

Click on their websites for more information, photos, and videos of Stand Up Paddling the Mississippi.

A Peek Back in Time - What's under the Pyramid?

Today the Commercial Appeal announced that the City and Bass Pro have reached a consensus on the above and below ground costs to stabilize the Pyramid to comply with seismic regulations ($19.5M to retrofit the building, $5.5M to stabilize the soil on the west side). Click HERE for the article.

As the redevelopment project gets started, here's a peek back in time to see how the land was used in the past.

1795 - Fort San Fernando de las Barranca sat here. It was a Spanish fort, built when the area was part of Louisiana. In 1797, the land was ceded to the U.S., the fort dismantled, and the Spanish army moved across the Mississippi River to what would become Hopefield, AR.

1844 - 54 U.S. Naval Yard. It was built at the foot of the bluff between Market and Auction streets. The soil was either accreted sand and clay, part of the bluff that had slid into the river, or, as historian John E. Harkins in his Historic Shelby County, suggests "dirt pushed down the bluff face for landfill... any traces of Fort San Fernando were in the rubble so deposited."

In 1990, the site was chosen for the new Pyramid.

Steamboat Purchased

The City of Memphis now has a $9M ownership stake in the American Queen riverboat. The 418' long, 89' wide, 222 room boat was purchased from the U.S. Maritime Administration this past week by HMS Global Maritime and its new subsidiary Great American Steamboat Co. which will be headquartered in Memphis.

All overnight travel companies on the river had gone out-of-business. The purchase and restoration of the American Queen resurrects the previously defunct segment of the travel industry, provides a user for the $41M troubled Beale Street Landing project, and promises to create jobs in Memphis.

For some political and financial background on the deal, click HERE for "Daily News" coverage.

For Mayor AC Wharton's letter-to-the-editor, click HERE.

Beale Street Landing "fiasco" - July Memphis Magazine

The Great Mississippi River Flood of 2011, unfortunately, did not wash away Beale Street Landing at Tom Lee Park. If it had, Memphians would have been spared several million dollars and the biggest downtown fiasco since The Pyramid.

If you missed the article in "Memphis Magazine's" July issue, it's now online. Click HERE.