Working Group May Be Key To Pyramid Plans

By Bill Dries

Members of the Shelby County Board of Commissioners and Memphis City Council have an informal consensus that they will hire a team of financial and real estate experts to negotiate with the two companies that want to develop The Pyramid.

The consensus emerged in a marathon three-hour meeting Wednesday afternoon at the County Building. The meeting drew 19 of the 26 commissioners and council members to hear a presentation from developer Greg Ericson about the part of his Pyramid Harbor plan that involves The Pyramid only. Bass Pro Shops has a tentative development agreement with the city and county as well to put one of its hunting and fishing retail stores and other attractions in the vacant arena.

The idea of a working group consisting of County Chief Administrative Officer Jim Huntzicker, Pyramid project manager Robert Lipscomb, one council member and one commissioner, as well as the financial and real estate experts, still must be considered formally by committees on both sides of the Main Street Mall.

The idea could go to the full council and full commission for separate votes sometime next month. If approved, negotiations would follow immediately with Ericson and Bass Pro simultaneously.

The working group was suggested by Commissioner Mike Ritz, who said the next step for either one of the projects needed to be handled as if negotiations were just beginning. He also said the government side of the negotiations requires someone who has negotiated large and complex real estate transactions numerous times. Lipscomb agreed.

Look for a more detailed story in Friday’s edition of The Daily News.