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northernbizzkit1

Pyramid in Memphis...Any Suggestions or Rumors?

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Today's Commercial Appeal

"Cash offer advanced in Pyramid proposal

Far East trade center is envisioned

The Pyramid has two new suitors -- a big-box retailer and an out-of-town group that has made a cash offer to buy the arena and convert it to a Far East trade center.

Both pursuits are preliminary and confidential, but they suggest there's national interest in addition to local proposals for an aquarium or indoor theme park.

In another development, an out-of-town group pitching an indoor water park will visit the building soon.

The retailer could be paired with a tourist-driven attraction, said Scott Ledbetter, chairman of the committee studying the arena's future.

"Your mind can start to really get excited about these things," Ledbetter said. "It would assure the success of an aquarium, of an indoor theme park, of an indoor water park, anything like that."

That megastore/tourist attraction concept will be presented to officials of the retailer when they visit Memphis next month, Ledbetter said.

"They may get here and say, 'We don't have any interest (in The Pyramid),'" he said. "But right now we're so excited about it."

The city and county owe a combined $26.8 million on the arena, which has been replaced by FedExForum as the city's primary arena.

The committee has focused on a tourism-related use because of the potential economic impact even though developers of tourist attractions likely won't want to buy the building or assume the debt.

Instead, they'd be putting tens of millions of dollars into the building's conversion.

"It's a good building. It's a key piece of real estate," said Richard Gsottschneider, a national consultant working for the committee. "I think the decision on how to reuse it ought to be made within the context of what's best for the economy. In other words, how is the reuse of that building going to best leverage other economic activity?"

Another option is to sell the building and reduce the debt by as much as possible, even if the new use won't generate much economic development.

For example, Lewis Dunn, a Jackson, Tenn., businessman, said he and a partner would buy the building and lease it as federal office space.

However, Ledbetter said the Dunn group hasn't said how much it would pay.

Now, Ledbetter said, there's a cash offer on the table from the trade center group.

"It would not be enough to cover the debt but it gets us maybe halfway there," he said.

He said the offer comes from "major developers" but that further study of the group and its plan is necessary.

"The committee is trying to determine not only how real the buyer is," Ledbetter said, "but also, is their intended use the absolute best use for The Pyramid considering the fact that we have now focused our efforts on bringing something to The Pyramid that will increase overall business to Memphis?"

The committee is expected to make a report to Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton and Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton by July. "

I am inclined and hopeful to say that the big-box retailer is IKEA, for they seem to occupy spaces of that caliber. I'd also love to see another Super Target built...it'd be welcome in the area! There is one in Cordova, one under construction at the Hacks Cross corridor, and there could easily be one downtown! If Wal-Mart is the big-box retailer...blah. I'm sorry, but I just do not have an appreciation for Super Wal-Mart after seeing a Super Target. It is amazing that Target can keep their stores in impeccable shape with renovations to keep the stores in order, but Wal-Mart keeps their stores in AWFUL conditions. I don't know if it is a nation-wide problem, but it is in Memphis, Atlanta, Nashville (from the one's I've been to), Gulfport, Pittsburgh, Chicago...need I say more? Anyway, this isn't a debate of Target v. Wal-Mart...It's what should take the Pyramid.

As far as the market, I think that's a good idea, but I would like to gain some more knowledge on what is in store for such a place. A market and hotel above it would be useful! Should something occupy the bottom five floors, what else could take the upper twenty-seven?

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How would this affect events that come to the Memphis-Cook Convention Center? I know that some groups who come to Memphis use both the convention center and the Pyramid Arena. The Fed Ex arena isn't in close proximity (walking distance) from what I understand.

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How would this affect events that come to the Memphis-Cook Convention Center? I know that some groups who come to Memphis use both the convention center and the Pyramid Arena. The Fed Ex arena isn't in close proximity (walking distance) from what I understand.

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I'm fairly certain that the Memphis-Cook Convention Center isn't a part of the "no-compete" issue, for it isn't an arena itself. It's more of an expo-center. The Canon Center isn't a part of it either, for it is classified as a theater and not an arena.

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I saw that article as well, and had no clue what it was talking about--I guess because any proposals are still in a very general talk stage. I mean, a big-box combined with a water-park? I dunno.

I still think the best use for the Pyramid would be a casino. Even though the Shelby County legislative caucus would be fully behind it, and the casino would be limited to Shelby County, it would require a constitutional amendment I believe, which would have zero chance of passing statewide.

One thing's for sure--the folks in Harbortown will have a big say.

How would this affect events that come to the Memphis-Cook Convention Center? I know that some groups who come to Memphis use both the convention center and the Pyramid Arena. The Fed Ex arena isn't in close proximity (walking distance) from what I understand.

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I think the only convention which also uses the Pyramid is the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) which brings something like 75,000 yearly. They're heading to Atlanta in the future anyway as they've outgrown Memphis's hotel capacity. If another outfit came along that needed the space, they could just shuttle them down to the Forum--the streetcar connects both pretty closely.

And that sort of overflow is only used for opening remarks/general assembly sort of stuff--a one time convention ceremony, close-circuited in from one facility to another.

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I saw that article as well, and had no clue what it was talking about--I guess because any proposals are still in a very general talk stage.  I mean, a big-box combined with a water-park?  I dunno.

I still think the best use for the Pyramid would be a casino.  Even though the Shelby County legislative caucus would be fully behind it, and the casino would be limited to Shelby County, it would require a constitutional amendment I believe, which would have zero chance of passing statewide.

One thing's for sure--the folks in Harbortown will have a big say.

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I know. A casino is the best choice for the site. I think they should make John Willingham of Steve Flinn an Indian Chief, give the land to either of those men, and have it as an Indian reservation casino. It would make a mint! I doubt the people of Harbortown would particularly care for a casino so close to their homes, but o well...pipe dreams of a G-townie. Does anyone know if someone is actively pursuing the casino deal? I heard about a feasibility committee about a year ago that was going to spend so much time studying the impact/possibility of making it a casino, but I haven't heard about their results...or if there were any!

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I think the only convention which also uses the Pyramid is the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) which brings something like 75,000 yearly.  They're heading to Atlanta in the future anyway as they've outgrown Memphis's hotel capacity.  If another outfit came along that needed the space, they could just shuttle them down to the Forum--the streetcar connects both pretty closely.

And that sort of overflow is only used for opening remarks/general assembly sort of stuff--a one time convention ceremony, close-circuited in from one facility to another.

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Yeah, COGIC is who I had in mind.

How far is the Fed Ex arena from MCCC?

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I'd love to see an Asian Trade Center combined with a world-class museum. I like the idea of combining features to make the facility more successful. I just want the pieces to be unique and world class.

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I'd love to see an Asian Trade Center combined with a world-class museum.  I like the idea of combining features to make the facility more successful.  I just want the pieces to be unique and world class.

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A little off topic but the reason Target stores are kept in neat order is not just because they tell the employees to keep the store clean and presentable but because they are not open twenty-four hours and employees must have the store in perfect condition before clocking out. Wal-Mart employees do not have the incentives to keep the store looking nice because there is always another shift coming in when they leave.

I highly doubt IKEA would locate here but I would like to see a trade center for Memphis.

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Yeah, COGIC is who I had in mind.

How far is the Fed Ex arena from MCCC?

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Maybe a mile, slightly less.

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A little off topic but the reason Target stores are kept in neat order is not just because they tell the employees to keep the store clean and presentable but because they are not open twenty-four hours and employees must have the store in perfect condition before clocking out.  Wal-Mart employees do not have the incentives to keep the store looking nice because there is always another shift coming in when they leave. 

I highly doubt IKEA would locate here but I would like to see a trade center for Memphis.

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I see what your point is, but I still think that during the lull of say 1-3 AM, Wal-Mart employees could spruce up the stores. I mean, there HAS to be a lull in the 24-hour cycle of a Wal-Mart store. Also, I still think that the big-box retailer could be IKEA simply because it would be a regional draw. The only other IKEA store in the Southeast is in Atlanta. There are two in Texas (Dallas and Houston), so I think there is a possibility for IKEA to come to Memphis. At the same time, I think it would be more probable for a Super Target to occupy the space, for there was an artice in the Commercial Appeal about how Target wanted to saturate the Memphis market.

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I see what your point is, but I still think that during the lull of say 1-3 AM, Wal-Mart employees could spruce up the stores. I mean, there HAS to be a lull in the 24-hour cycle of a Wal-Mart store. Also, I still think that the big-box retailer could be IKEA simply because it would be a regional draw. The only other IKEA store in the Southeast is in Atlanta. There are two in Texas (Dallas and Houston), so I think there is a possibility for IKEA to come to Memphis. At the same time, I think it would be more probable for a Super Target to occupy the space, for there was an artice in the Commercial Appeal about how Target wanted to saturate the Memphis market.

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I think Wal Mart focuses more on getting more product out at night and doesn't have many employess who are there specifically to keep the aisles tidy. Target has a team who comes in way after the store closes to push the product and the Sales Floor is kept seperate from this. It probably costs more money, but it pays off. Furthermore, Wal-Mart doesn't have to care how the store looks becuase people will shop their anyway. Target costs more so it must offer more to stay competitive.

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I think Wal Mart focuses more on getting more product out at night and doesn't have many employess who are there specifically to keep the aisles tidy.  Target has a team who comes in way after the store closes to push the product and the Sales Floor is kept seperate from this.  It probably costs more money, but it pays off.  Furthermore, Wal-Mart doesn't have to care how the store looks becuase people will shop their anyway.  Target costs more so it must offer more to stay competitive.

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I think every square inch and every second of every day at a WalMart has been run through their consumer psychologists in Arkansas. In other words, nothing you see at a WalMart is an accident. A result of that is the general sort of ramshackle appearance of most WalMarts--which is consciously maintained imho and permits consumers to believe that the stores concentrate more on price than on appearance.

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The only other IKEA store in the Southeast is in Atlanta. There are two in Texas (Dallas and Houston), so I think there is a possibility for IKEA to come to Memphis. At the same time, I think it would be more probable for a Super Target to occupy the space, for there was an artice in the Commercial Appeal about how Target wanted to saturate the Memphis market.

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IKEA ain't coming to downtown Memphis. Even though downtown may be the playground of the well-heeled, if they ever came to town they'd go to Germantown or Collierville imho.

What's up with Hermes having a store in Memphis? Outside of Texas and Florida, the only other southern store is in Atlanta. Go figure that one.

A Target would be great. As far as I know, the only place downtown to buy fundamentals like toilet paper and shoelaces is Schwab's on Beale St. or Walgreens.

Bravo, sleepy. I concur.

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I can't believe you're a republican. lol

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What's up with Hermes having a store in Memphis?  Outside of Texas and Florida, the only other southern store is in Atlanta.  Go figure that one.

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I think when Oak Hall expanded, Hermes opened a boutique within the store...I'll have to check it out tonight when I have dinner in the area. I do remember seeing a separate entrance with "HERMES" over the door and thinking that it was odd. Perhaps that is it.

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