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The Memphis Pyramid and Bass Pro Shops

Memphis Pyramid

Northernmost part of the Memphis Pyramid

To view photo in Flickr, go to http://www.flickr.com/photos/yummies4tummies/4858732420/

Bass Pro Shops recently inked a 20-year lease to occupy the Memphis Pyramid, with seven 5-year renewals for a grand total of 55 years. Estimated grand opening is November 2011. Renovation plans include a “swamp” with cypress trees, freshwater fish, aviary, restaurants, and a bowling alley. This Commercial Appeal article has more details. It would be a total bummer if the hotel plans were scrapped.

I have a list of things I’d like to see. I’ll preface by saying I’ve been inside a Bass Pro Shop only once in my life (with Jeff, the guy I’m dating, when he was Christmas shopping for his dad) last year. Overall, I know next to nothing about this store except that it sells pretty much every outdoorsy gadget mankind has ever made!

So, in a way, this is my open letter to those directly involved in this wonderful project: Bass Pro Shops, O.T. Marshall Architects, Poag & McEwen.

I’ll start with what’s needed nearby the Pyramid, and that’s another gas station or two. A couple of coats of paint on buildings would make a world of difference too. Definitely need a fast food restaurant like Wendy’s or Burger King or McDonald’s close by. I realize In-N-Out would be a pipe dream. LOL.

Please consider “filling” the parking lot right across the street from the Pyramid. Ideally, a new set of shops (maybe include an ice cream parlor—so either Baskin Robbins or a Ben & Jerry’s and most definitely a Starbucks!) that’s only a hop, skip, and jump away would be awesome. Oh wait, one more: Krispy Kreme doughnuts!

Are there sufficient parking spaces currently? I would think a multi-level parking structure would easily remedy any shortage.

I sincerely hope hotel plans are still in the works. A couple of months ago, The Memphis Flyer (or was it The Memphis News?) mentioned a hotel inside the Pyramid, and the alternative was one right next door. Either way, a hotel having designated rooms with outdoor “themes” would rockkkk. The possibilities include rain forest, camping, duck hunting, deer hunting, fishing, safari, etc. Have the walls painted with those sceneries and throw in the appropriate furniture (bed made from bamboo, a cot, sleeping bag :p). There can be regular rooms too, but having those outdoorsy options would appeal to the adventuresome folks. I just see a tremendous amount of possibilities and opportunities with a hotel on-site.

The exterior….I picture lots of trees and hidden outdoor speakers so as customers are walking up, they’d hear crickets, birds, or frogs even before they reach the front door. What about a miniature golf area outside too?

That reminds me, can you install the sky beam that illuminates into space like the Luxor Hotel (in Vegas) uses at night?

It’d be great if each retail department had its own decor. Take, for example, a fishing “pier” for the fishing department. Trees and bushes (and perhaps painted mountains/hills) for the hiking and camping department. A deer stand for the hunting department….I think ya get my drift.

A bowling alley is planned, but how about a rock-climbing wall or paintball room?

Maybe there’s already a store that does this, but perhaps a video game “demo” room? I’m thinking charge a nominal fee to play X number of minutes at whichever level (of the game) the players chooses. If more money is added, the game doesn’t resume where the player left off, he/she must select another level of the game or another video game entirely.

Can there be an indoor gun range? Truthfully, I’m *really* on the fence about this one, but I’m just throwing it out there anyway.

During the Fall, bring in a skiing simulator for those folks planning on hittin’ the slopes in the winter months.

Periodically offering workshops like the absolute basic necessities for camping, hiking, or hunting; how to use a fishing rod for fishing; how to swing a golf club; setting up a home aquarium, etc.

Does Bass Pro Shops sell kites? If so, maybe you would consider sponsoring a “Kite Day” in Tom Lee Park during the spring? And while I’m on the subject of sponsoring, how ’bout a “Boat Day”? Harbor Town is practically right around the corner (okay, bridge–same difference :p) from the Pyramid. And once Beale Street Landing is completed, it too will be another option.

Restaurants….I saved the best for last! Please–I’m asking nicely here–have at least two restaurants: one, a fine-dining type, with entrees made from these meats (even on a rotational basis):

  • buffalo
  • deer
  • ostritch
  • snake
  • duck
  • rabbit
  • emu
  • fowl

A good variety of fishes would be fantastic! Serve frog legs too, please. Ribbit.

The second restaurant can be more of a casual grille that serves turkey and ostritch burgers. I’ve eaten both and would gladly have those over a beef burger, except In-N-Out’s.

And for wine connoisseurs, I have just the thing in mind: A smart-card wine dispenser “room” adjacent to the fine-dining restaurant. This article explains it best.

I think this about covers it, but I’ll be sure to update this post with anything else I come up with.

Last, but not least…..Jeff, who’s been to a handful or so Bass Pro Shops, did share one thing with me. In fact, it’s a new word to add to my vocabulary: taxidermist. He mentioned the Springfield, Missouri store has one. Please staff one here too.

Memphis Pyramid

Exactly where the Pyramid is located–along Front Street, with Shadyac Avenue as a cross street

Memphis Pyramid

Can’t wait to start seeing the progress (Pyramid is at right)
This is looking south on Front Street

Memphis Pyramid

“Ramesses The Great” Statue

My next post will be the new Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.

UPDATE August 11, 2011: News reports state Bass Pro Shops will grand open in August 2013.

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