MEMPHIS — Bass Pro Shops founder John Morris had a grand idea. He wanted to convert the iconic Memphis Pyramid — neglected and long-abandoned — into another one of his retail stores.
The cost was $45 million, provided city taxpayers chipped in. The Memphis City Council agreed with Morris and subsequently signed on.
Work refitting the Pyramid — more Las Vegas glitz than Duck Dynasty camo — began in 2011 with a planned 2013 opening.
Add a 103-room hotel at the Pyramid, Morris asked, and, per an amendment with the City Council, it was so, upping the cost and dragging taxpayers deeper into the abyss.
Morris then wanted the largest freestanding elevator in North America, which will take visitors 28 stories to the top.
Again, the city council agreed.
The new Bass Pro Shops resort opened late last month with a total city investment of $78 million, said Tom Marshall, the project architect.
That’s about $33 million more than the city of Memphis originally agreed to pay — about 18 months past its scheduled opening date.
Bass Pro Shops failed to return numerous requests for comment to discuss how much it put into the project, but Memphis television affiliate WHBQ reported the total cost at $113 million.
The image “Memphis Pyramid.JPG” by Trevor Birchett is licensed under under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.