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The Pyramid Arena

Location: 1 Auction Avenue, Memphis, TN 38105-1501
Function: multipurpose arena
Owner: City of Memphis, with 55 year lease to Bass Pro
Size: 321' tall, 32 stories, base sides of 591 ft siding: 9200 stainless steel panels. Cost: $62 million
Constructed: started in September of 1989, and finished in 1991. Occupants: Sports fans and concert goers (legacy).

The city looked for years for an excuse to build a pyramid to create a civic identity. They finally found it in a sport/concert pavillion. Originally built as a 20,142-seat arena.

The Memphis Pyramid has not been regularly used as a sports or entertainment venue since 2004. The facility is currently being converted into a Bass Pro Shops megastore including shopping, a hotel, restaurants, a bowling alley, and an archery range with an outdoor observation deck at its apex. (See link on Wikipedia.)

Basically, the execution of this concept was thoroughly botched, from failed pumping system to keep the floor from flooding to inadequate planning to accommodate NBA play. It was considered as an extension to the Memphis convention center, but that proved impractical (distance), and the mechanical systems needed upgrading in order to be re-purposed as a facility such as a midwestern branch of the Smithsonian. Sad.

What is it with these pyramid engineers and projects that goes wrong? Failure to communicate.

Link to more about The Pyramid Arena on wikipedia

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© 2014, John E. Miller