Friday, February 22, 2008

Is Ericson A Modern Day Schlenker

I have been listening to Greg Ericson for two days give his spin, on the sale of the Pyramid. Ben Ferguson must be on this guy's payroll, he has his home,office and cellphone number on speed dial. Whenever he wants to talk about the city and Robert Lipscomb being on the take, he calls this guy to verify what he says. I'm in favor of looking at all the plans and doing what ever is best for the city of Memphis. It is painfully obvious that Ben Ferguson is running interference for the Ericson's plan on his show. Then we have Steve Mulroy on the county commission There are things about the Bass Pro deal that don't sound right. But Ericson's proposals has some holes in it as well. As I was listening to him talk, I couldn't help but think about Sidney Schlenker. He came in the same way, and sold this city on the Pyramid.

Experience has taught me. That anything that sounds to good to be true, usually is to good to be true. This Ericson plan sounds to good to be true. It is every concern and expectation all wrapped up in one. We have known the future of the Pyramid for seven years. Where has the Ericson group been all this time? Robert Lipscomb insists that they can't get any proof of financial backing on this group. I think this plan should be checked very closely. What has happened is the group has had seven years to plug in all the holes. I trust Robert Lipscomb's judgement. He has a track record in this city. Let's not be so quick to kick Bass Pro aside. They have stores in operation all over the country. The Ericson proposal could be nothing more than a well developed business plan. Is Greg Ericson a modern day Sidney Schlenker?

Read the link below:


Blogger Common said...

Bass Pro on top of the list
Pyramid panel ready to negotiate; theme-park discussion turns sour
By Jim Masilak (Contact)
Thursday, May 8, 2008

A city-county committee on Pyramid redevelopment has cleared the way for intensified negotiations with Bass Pro Shops after rejecting an ultimatum from theme-park proponent Greg Ericson.

In a letter to Shelby County chief administrative officer Jim Huntzicker, Ericson said he and his partners from Prosperity International LLC would go forward with a $250 million offer to redevelop the vacant Downtown arena only if certain criteria were met.

A theme park proposal for the Pyramid has been withdrawn. The remaining prospect is the Bass Pro Shop megastore. Is the city-county committee on Pyramid redevelopment making progress?

After questioning Ericson's tactics -- he all but asked that arena reuse project manager Robert Lipscomb be removed from the process -- Huntzicker said the city and county should "proceed with the remaining candidate, which is Bass Pro."

That means revisiting a proposed development agreement from Bass Pro that has yet to be signed by either Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton or Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton, and moving ahead with an independent examination of the Springfield, Mo.-based outdoors giant's offer to turn the arena into a megastore.

In his letter to Huntzicker, Ericson expressed frustration with what he perceived as Lipscomb's unwillingness to give his offer serious consideration. Lipscomb helped court Bass Pro in 2005 and maintains it provides the best option for reuse.

"We feel strongly that we will never get a fair assessment while Robert Lipscomb is part of this process," Ericson wrote. "At this point, we have decided it would be prudent to cut our losses in Memphis and we are now pursuing other projects in other locations."

Lipscomb, however, said he has "bent over backward" for Ericson and given him every opportunity to prove that he and his backers are financially viable. Both Lipscomb and Huntzicker say Ericson has failed to do that.

"He's making me out to be the bad guy when I had the most to gain by having leverage" with Bass Pro in the form of a competing offer, Lipscomb said.

As spelled out in a proposed development agreement from Pyramid Resorts, Ericson informed Huntzicker, Lipscomb and other officials on Feb. 25 that his offer would expire on March 31 if not acted upon.

On Wednesday, Huntzicker said he had never been apprised of such a deadline, and Lipscomb said he had only heard of it "in the wind."

"If they can't read, then they really shouldn't be in those jobs at all," Ericson said. "Does that mean they didn't read it? I can't believe they didn't read our development agreement. That's an indication of the way the city and county do business."

Still, neither Huntzicker nor Lipscomb was willing to say that this spells the end for Ericson's bid. And while Ericson said his frustration has led him to place his 3,652-square-foot Harbor Town home on the market, he also left the door ajar for a compromise.

"We had our funding in place for five months and they did nothing about it," Ericson said. "If they're interested in doing anything positive, we would look at something. But it would be very difficult for us to (believe) they mean it."

City councilman Reid Hedgepeth, speaking via teleconference, urged the committee to jump-start a process that has dragged on for nearly four years with few tangible results. He pointed out that The Pyramid is costing city and county taxpayers about $1.5 million in interest and $600,000 in maintenance this year alone.

"We're spending a lot of money on this building every day," Hedgepeth said. "We've had study after study after study done about The Pyramid. ... It's a drag on the citizens that we need to resolve. Let's get it done."

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