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Springfield, MO

Bass Pro, Memphis set opening date for Pyramid

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The long-talked-about Bass Pro Shops in the Memphis Pyramid now has a concrete opening date.

Officials with the city of Memphis, Tenn., and executives with the Springfield-based outdoor retailer have set November 2011 as the opening date for their planned renovation, according to a report Wednesday in the Memphis Daily News. Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton Jr. announced the date in a meeting with Memphis City Council on Tuesday afternoon, according to the report.

The two sides say they have cleared the last major hurdles to redeveloping the Pyramid, including determining that the facility's flood wall and maintenance program are sufficient and expanding an existing Tourism Development Zone, which offers tax rebates or refunds for redevelopment projects.

Wharton gave the council members a copy of a letter he sent to Bass Pro founder Johnny Morris and CEO Jim Hagale that includes a draft of a lease agreement between the two sides. According to the report, a lease could be signed by the end of April for the facility, which the city will continue to own, with work beginning at that time.

Bass Pro spokesman Larry Whiteley said announcements will be coming as the project progresses, declining to comment on the report.

Additional meetings are scheduled April 20 in Memphis and April 29 in Springfield, according to the report.

Bass Pro will serve as the anchor for a large retail development in the Pyramid, according to previous coverage. Plans - which have been discussed since early 2006 - call for a $100 million project to turn the facility into a retail center devoted to the outdoors and a conservation exhibit focused on Mississippi River wildlife.

The retailer has been paying $35,000 a month in lease payments on the facility since February 2009 according to previous reports, and would have been assessed a $500,000 penalty had it pulled out of the project.[[In-content Ad]]

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