City Celebrates Bass Pro Construction Kick-Off
When you go hunting or fishing, you don’t just need a rod and reel or a bow and arrow. You need patience.
So it was that after seven years of speculation, Bass Pro Shops and the City of Memphis celebrated a construction kick-off yesterday for the new Outdoor World in the city’s iconic downtown Pyramid.
The planned additions to the 220,000-square-foot store include a floating dock, an aviary, a waterfowl museum, a 24,000-gallon aquarium, and zip-line stations. The company is also planning a three-story hotel with balconies overlooking the retail space, nature-scapes, and giant cypress tress swamp below.
“We will utilize the unique retail environment we’re creating to celebrate the Delta Flyway and make this store the Waterfowl Center for the whole company,” said Bass Pro Shops Founder Johnny Morris.
Morris fishing buddy and legendary angler Bill Dance recalled how the Pyramid project came to be. The two were fishing on the Mississippi River, not far from the building, with Jack Emmitt when Morris said that if any of them caught a 30-pound catfish, they’d put a Bass Pro in the Pyramid. In what will surely become Pyramid lore, Emmitt caught that 30 pounder and the rest is history.
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. pointed out where some of the future attractions — the hotel, the bowling alley, the marina — would be located within the Pyramid.
“What we see today, even in its bare bones, is Johnny Morris’ vision coming to life,” said Mayor Wharton. “What we see emerging is a hunting, fishing, and sporting paradise, right here on the Mighty Mississippi.”
Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World is scheduled to open in Fall 2013, and the company has an initial 20-year lease on the Pyramid, with several options for renewals.