MEMPHIS, Tennessee—Bass Pro Shops’ latest megastore plans to open inside of the world’s sixth largest pyramid. That pyramid, a former 20,000 seat basketball arena in Memphis, TN is currently undergoing $40-million in renovations.
Plans have been on the table since 2008 for the world’s largest fishing retailer to develop the pyramid into a flagship store. However, construction did not begin in earnest until October of 2012. Bass Pro Shops has a 20-year lease on the pyramid facility, in which the fishing retailer will pay the City of Memphis $1-2.5 million per year based on revenues.
The Bass Pro Shops Pyramid megastore will include a hotel, archery range, restaurant, bowling alley, aquarium, lodge, suites and a viewing deck 322ft above the Mississippi River.
The building first opened in 1991 as the home for University of Memphis basketball. Interestingly, it was originally slated to feature an Inclinator ride, rock n’ roll museum, Memphis-music centric radio station, Hard Rock Cafe and college football hall of fame. None of those developments ever transpired, though it did host multiple NCAA, SEC and Conference USA basketball tournaments in addition to the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies.
In the hopes of drawing tourists, Bass Pro Shops’ ambitious renovation will give the arena some of the attractions—namely an observation deck and restaurant— that were originally proposed nearly 25 years ago.
Grand opening for the Bass Pro Shops Pyramid is set for December of 2014.