When you grow up or live in a certain place for a long period of time, major landmarks that jump out at visitors tend to blend in with the environment. I’m from Birmingham, and a giant statue of a Greek god on top of a mountain doesn’t really seem odd to me. That’s Vulcan, he’s been there awhile, and that’s it.
We live next to a pyramid. It’s pretty big. The bridge from Mud Island crosses right next to it, so I’m blinded by the sun reflecting off the glass sides of the monstrosity every morning.
Memphis natives, like my husband, give just about the same story every time I ask about the pyramid. It was built “a long time ago” and once the FedEx Forum was built over on Beale Street, it shut down and the City of Memphis has been trying to get rid of it ever since. It just strikes me as odd… I mean, it’s a giant PYRAMID… and they’re just trying to get rid of it?! There are so many uses for a pyramid. Like, well, you know….
So, being my vacation week and being a little burned out on my Lost marathon, I decided to do a little research. Here’s my version of what I found on google.
The Memphis Pyramid was built in 1991. Like many things in the South, it’s the sixth largest of it’s kind, behind the real pyramids and the one in Las Vegas (because why would we want to build the best of something? )The building’s designer and chief construction dude had planned on making a theme park, box car thing that road up and down the sides (how cool would that be?!), and a much needed (sarcasm) radio station to go along with it. But like most people in Memphis, he was investigated for fraud and those cool things never happened. On opening night, someone forgot to shut the water valves off, and the bottom of the stadium flooded and it smelled bad. Apparently the designer also forgot to check the NBA handbook, because the stadium wasn’t able to host the Grizzlies- because you need more than a basketball court to do that?!- and the cost of redoing the pre-existing stadium court exceeded the cost of building a completely new building. Hence, the birth of the FedEx Forum. Things went downhill from there- with the exception of the WWF’s payperview feature “Valentine’s Day Massacre- In Your House” in 1999- and the building held it’s last event in 2007.
So it sat. The giant statue of “Rhamsses the Great” was sold to U of Memphis for $1 a couple of years ago.
However, hope springs eternal and the City of Memphis reached a deal with Bass Pro Shops and they are the new occupants of the Pyramid. Because nothing screams Carhartt and Catfish like a giant pyramid.
The business’ founder- and I’m not making this up, you can find it in the Memphis Business Journal- said that a 30 lb catfish he caught in the MS River was a “sign” that he needed to close the deal on the pyramid.
Bass Pro is building a bowling alley, restaurant (haha wonder what’ll be on the menu… bass?) and megastore within it. They’ve just recently added plans for a 200 bed hotel, because studies have shown 46% of people – and again, I’m not making this up- who visit Bass Pro Shops stay overnight.
My hairstylist, who is also an expert on the Bass Pro developments- her name is Venus, in case you were wondering- said they’ll be developing the area around the Pyramid, too. Which means I’ll get to drive through a beautiful riverside RV park and a small scale Nascar track on my way to work.
It’s also going to feature a glass elevator so customers can see the “stunning view” of the MS river, fishing boats, and plaid shirts. Lately, there’s been an issue with Mud Island residents over the signs that are planned to be posted on the sides of the pyramid. Bass Pro logos, approximately 8 stories tall, and lit from within… and easily visible as far as Jonesboro Arkansas.
It’s all set to open up in August 2013… which means it’ll be completed around April of 2014. I’m sure there will be a high class opening event that my husband and I will go to… and once I get over my fear of looking like a tourist in my own backyard, I’ll take some pictures. Until then, I’ll just pretend there’s not a pyramid in skyline with a giant neon fish on it.
This photo rock my world. It’s my new iPad background.