MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - How would you like to have dinner in a restaurant with an amazing view of Memphis? As it turns out, that's a part of the plan for the new Bass Pro Shop set for The Pyramid.
You'd never know it from the outside, but the inside of The Pyramid is a construction project like no other in the world. But it's what's at the very top that really peaked our interest.
The Memphis Pyramid, with its 32 stories of stainless steel, was built two decades ago amid great controversy. It has been and object of scorn and broken promises. Yet those slots, those windows, and that glass peak at the top continue to fascinate. So, we hit the stairs to see what's up there.
Just in case you're wondering, it's 465 steps up - it feels like straight up - from the terrace level to the apex of the building, where Bass Pro intends to build a restaurant and perhaps a bar with the greatest view you'll ever find of the Memphis area. Of course, they won't make you walk the steps. They're going to put in an elevator.
Allan Barner with O.T. Marshall Architects is leading the team turning The Pyramid into an enormous Bass Pro Shop.
"They are putting in an elevator that will puncture the east facade of The Pyramid, come up to approximately 260, 270 feet and bridge across, to come in the east opening, sort of like a sky bridge that will give you an amazing view of downtown Memphis," he said.
Amazing it is in every direction you look. On a clear day you can see for miles, and just imagine the sunsets.
But that space, all 8,000 square feet of it, has never been used. Plans to build everything from a shortwave radio station playing Memphis music to a Hard Rock Café fell apart. Barner, who grew up in Memphis, said not this time.
"For me and so many other Memphians, you know, we never got to come to the top of The Pyramid. We were always promised it for so long. Bass Pro partnered with the city, you know, we're going to make this happen."
For now, the best evidence of what's coming is down below where the 'Tomb of Doom' is being gutted by giant machines. When it's done the building will be an empty shell ready for Bass Pro to start building a mega store that promises, among other things, a giant cypress swamp filled with fish and wildlife.
As part of the deal with Bass Pro, the city is doing all the demolition and prep work. Bass Pro is scheduled to start its part of the construction in August with plans for a grand opening in November of 2013, just in time for holiday shopping.