Thursday, April 30, 2015

Congratulations Bass Pro Shops/City of Memphis

When I posted the last Tanger Outlet Mall update not too long ago, I had no idea the new Bass Pro Shops 535,000 sq. ft. mega store in downtown Memphis was just days away from opening: time to eat crow already! In honor of Bass Pro opening the chain's second largest "destination location" in the former Pyramid arena, here's a shot of the commemorative gift card seen at the Hernando Kroger over the weekend. While the main structure is a large steel-clad pyramid, the 6th largest in the world, Bass Pro built a front entrance very similar to what is seen on this gift card:

Commemorative Bass Pro Memphis grand opening gift card
The city of Memphis and Bass Pro spent millions and millions of dollars on this project (reports say over $190 million), with the city reportedly investing 35 million alone just to retrofit the building for earthquake resistance. In the words of a Memphis Flyer article: "Bass Pro took over the construction at the site in October (2013 presumably) after the city completed interior demolition, the removal of the seating, seismic protections and the replacement of the heating and cooling systems." Source: That was likely a very large portion of the costs, but the further renovations done by Bass Pro couldn't have been light on the budget either. Those include the world's largest freestanding elevator, surrounded by a pit featuring live alligators(!), a bowling alley, hotel, and restaurants. No wonder they missed the December opening by a few months, and were still putting on the finishing touches even after the doors opened at the end of April 2015. As I understand it, the city owns the building and Bass Pro signed a 55-year lease. One news report claimed Bass Pro owes the city a whopping 35k monthly rent check!

Bass Pro occupies another location in east Memphis, in a former small Wal-Mart, which I have gotten a few pictures of in the past and posted to flickr. here's a link to one of them: It's unclear if they will keep that location open, and may depend on how much business the new downtown location draws away from it. When I made the comments at that flickr photo, many people were still skeptical about Bass Pro ever getting the decade long Pyramid project completed. Now Memphis has a major tourist attraction and unique retail gem right at it's front door in downtown. At some point, I will definitely go check it out, sometime after the crowds die down a bit! Googling "Bass Pro Memphis" currently turns up several images: And lastly, here's a cool shot of the old interior seating in the midst of being demolished:


  1. That's going to be a really neat looking store! I like how they decided to reuse that unique building instead of tearing it down. I didn't think Memphis was that earthquake prone to the extent they would need to add seismic protection to the building.

    1. We're not really earthquake prone... it's just with the New Madrid Fault, they say whenever the next one does end up happening, it'll be a big one. :/

  2. The last "big one" was well north of Memphis back in the 1800's, and was severe enough it caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards briefly and create Reelfoot lake in the northern part of the state! I would have to think this was felt as far away as Memphis at the time, but I don't think it did much damage. Nonetheless, for the last decade or so lots of structures, from bridges to houses, have been built or retrofitted with seismic protection. Water heaters in new houses now have to be strapped to the wall for example.

    Also, since I posted this, I had to wonder if any flickr members made it to Bass Pro and posted pictures. Sure enough, I found a few of the interior, and here's a good set showing mostly the south face of the pyramid with the new, large Bass Pro signage: I believe this flickr member also did some recent updates to the Wikipedia article

  3. And here's an extensive photo set of the opening day, April 29, 2015:

  4. Surprises me Bass Pro would want to open in the middle of a city considering its a country/backwoods kind of store! Not to mention they opened in a glass pyramid, or at least it looks like it is made of glass anyways. Obviously, I've never been to Memphis.

  5. The only large Bass Pro I've been to is the one in Nashville, at Opry Mills Mall. But I've seen the one in Grapevine TX (just outside of Dallas). Still haven't been to this new one in Memphis. Several of my coworkers have been, one said a few weeks ago there was still a two hour wait just to ride the elevators to the top observation deck!


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