After years of indecision, Shelby County commissioners in Tennessee have finally approved an agreement to turn the vacant Pyramid Arena in Memphis into a Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World store.
The company has one year to sign a long-term lease on the building or face a $500,000 penalty. It will reportedly pay $35,000 per month in rent.
The Bass Pro plan was the first of many tentative proposals floated for the arena after its closure in February 2007.
Commissioners also considered a plan to transform the venue into a $250 million indoor theme park as well as a church’s offer to purchase the building for $12 million.
Still, even after giving Bass Pro the green light for development, county officials told the Commercial Appeal they’d have to make sure the retailer was keen to move forward.
“I am concerned, quite frankly, that it took us too long on the county side, and that it may appear to Bass Pro that we are not serious about them being a tenant,” commission chairwoman Deidre Malone told the paper.
The Pyramid, one of the largest structures of that shape in the world, opened in 1991 at a cost of $65 million but never lived up to financial expectations.
The building struggled after the nearby FedExForum debuted in 2004, taking former Pyramid tenant the Memphis Grizzlies with it.