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The 32 story Pyramid is one of the largest pyramids in the world and soars even taller than the Statue of Liberty or the Taj Mahal.

The Pyramid Arena is located at 1 Auction Avenue in Memphis Tennessee.

The Pyramid Arena facility was built in 1991 and is a 20,000-seat arena located in downtown Memphis at the banks of the Mississippi River. The official name of the Pyramid is "The Great American Pyramid." It is owned and operated jointly by the city of Memphis and Shelby County. Its unique structure plays on the city's namesake from Egypt, known for its ancient pyramids. It is a 60 percent replica of the Great Pyramid of Cheops in Egypt and is one of the largest pyramids in the world. It's 321 feet tall (about 32 stories) and has base sides of 591 feet. It is also about 16 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty. The interior of the Pyramid has more than half a million square feet of usable space and its exterior is clad in stainless steel. A statue of Ramesses the Great stands in front.

It was the home court for the University of Memphis men's basketball program (, and later for the National Basketball Association's Memphis Grizzlies ( However, both teams left The Pyramid in November 2004 to move into the newly built FedExForum.

Since the FedExForum has overtaken the Pyramid as the city's primary indoor sports arena, the Pyramid does not currently have any long term tenants. The last event there was a concert by Bob Seger and The Silver Bullet Band in February 2007.

A committee studied possible uses of the arena in 2005, and considered such uses as converting the arena into a casino, an aquarium, a shopping center, or an indoor theme park.

In October 2005, media speculation began to focus on an aquarium or a Bass Pro Shops superstore as the most likely long-term tenants of the arena. In November 2006, Congressman-Elect Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee) suggested that he would attempt to open a "Mid-American branch" of the Smithsonian Institution in the building, but in January 2008, the city and Bass Pro Shops reached a "tentative" agreement, short on details, but based on an intent to develop the now-abandoned structure.

Bass Pro signed a development agreement in August 2008 that would give the company another 12 months to sign a long-term lease on The Pyramid. The agreement requires the approval of both the City Council and Shelby County Commission.

In October 2008, commissioners rejected a proposal to sell the counties share of The Pyramid and two other public properties to Memphis for $5 million because it would have stripped them of the chance to vote the agreement up or down.

Months after Bass Pro Shops signed a development agreement, on November 12, 2008, a 4-4 committee vote rejected the development deal to turn The Pyramid into a retail store with adjoining restaurants, an aviary and museum. Some who oppose Bass Pro for a number of reasons, say under the terms of the contract, they believe the company could pull out without paying the penalty. ("We might find ourselves, a year down the road, having waited and locked ourselves in, and Bass Pro decides not to go forward. And we're really no better off than we were before, in fact, we're worse off because of the opportunity cost of letting it lay vacant for a year.")

The Shelby County Commission on Monday, November 17, 2008, approved the development agreement that would turn the vacant Pyramid arena into a Bass Pro Shops retail location. Under the agreement, Bass Pro Shops has 12 months to sign a long-term lease on the arena. The company will pay $35,000 a month for 12 months, and there will be a $500,000 penalty if it backs out of the deal. The commission was the only agency left to vote on the agreement. The vote was 9-3, overriding the 4-4 committee vote that rejected the deal.

Bass Pro Shops' plans to redevelop The Pyramid arena are still a go, and Memphis officials say they will visit the outdoor retail store's Springfield, Mo., headquarters the week before Christmas to iron out details of the development agreement.

Now that plans are moving forward some at the County Commission say it may be a good time to revisit selling the county's share to the city. But a majority of those who initially opposed selling said that they haven't changed their minds.

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