In answer to a question by Bob, we’ve re-read the contract between Memphis and Shelby County Governments, and here’s the short answer:
The contract with the Memphis Grizzlies is not an impediment to development of The Pyramid.
While the “Use and Operating Agreement” between the team owners and city and county governments gives the NBA team the right to use The Pyramid, it is of course based on the presumption that The Pyramid even has an arena in it.
The part of the contract that has been held up as a possible deal killer for Pyramid development plans is found in the section called “Destruction or Damage.” It sets out the team’s options in the event that FedEx Forum is damaged so severely that it is unusable by the team.
The Grizzlies of course wanted the option to use The Pyramid if this kind of disaster occurs, but the contract actually says The Pyramid “or some other location acceptable” to the Grizzlies. As Hurricane Katrina proved in New Orleans, the options can take several forms depending on the severity of the problem shutting down the new arena.
But to make sure there’s no dispute about the interpretations, Grizzlies negotiator extraordinaire Stan Meadows has even said the team will release any requirements under this section of the contract so there is no obstacle to future plans for The Pyramid.
In other words, The Pyramid does not have to be maintained as an exclusive back-up site for the FedExForum, and there are no problems caused by the contract between the Grizzlies and city and county governments.