What do you do with an empty 32-story pyramid? In Memphis, you turn it into an outdoors megastore.
Bass Pro Shops has leased the structure known as The Pyramid from the city of Memphis, Tenn., and will turn it into a 535,000-square-foot supercenter.
"Some people say we're the candy store of the great outdoors," said Martin MacDonald, Bass Pro Shops' director of conservation, public relations and community development. "This is going to be an example of a true public-private partnership that changes the landscape of Memphis."
Bass Pro Shops at The Pyramid will open in April or May. The center will feature ranges for shooting and archery, aquariums stocked with 1,800 fish, pools with live alligators, a waterfowl heritage center and a bowling alley that will appear to be underwater.
There will also be a 100-room hotel within the massive structure. The rooms are being decorated to look like cabins in a cypress swamp.
Bass Pro Shops representatives say the center will be "one of the most dynamic, immersive retail experiences in the world."
The Pyramid, which was built in the late 1980s to reflect the Egyptian origin of the city's name, has been empty since 2007. The arena was made to host sporting events and concerts.
It was home court for the Memphis Grizzlies and the University of Memphis, and it also hosted concerts. However, narrow seats, poor acoustics, plumbing issues and other problems plagued the structure. Many in Memphis said The Pyramid was cursed.
Bass Pro Shops officials say any curse will be lifted because those who love the outdoors are very aware of forces beyond their control.