The old Arctic Ice building is about to become one of the coolest spots in town.
Located at 217 E. Main St., The Ice House mixed-use development will have 12,700 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space that will offer clients the use of numerous bars, stages, a rooftop terrace, a mezzanine and state-of-the-art technology. The downtown venue also will house a catering kitchen and an on-premise catering and event planning service, Crushed Ice Events, which will manage the facility.
“We saw a need and designed a company to cater to it,” said Lindsay Curtis, event and design coordinator for Crushed Ice Events., “We team a passion for food with our commitment to expert event production.”
Curtis is a partner with Amie Aiken Milby, director of sales and events for Crushed Ice Events, and executive chef Laurence Agnew. Their goal: to become Louisville’s premier planning and catering company. Now with the addition of The Ice House in the arsenal, Erica Schnell, director of business development for The Ice House, believes that is entirely possible.
“Basically, we are a one-stop-shop with everything you need to entertain,” Schnell said. “With our great location, space and amenities, we can handle your meeting, party and reception. Large or small, public or private, we can take it to a whole new level.”
It can be tough for organizations and clients to find the time to coordinate all aspects of an event, added Milby, formerly of the Kentucky Derby Museum. “What we bring to the table is expertise in all the areas of staging an event. The more responsibility you turn over to us, the greater cost efficiencies come into play,” she said.
Agnew’s role, as executive chef, is to wed his expertise with his partners but maintain his focus on the food. “To make it the best, we partner with local growers and farmers. Of course, presentation is important “¦ we want a feast for the eyes and the palate. We want our guests to have fun, yet still keeping it upscale for any occasion.”
In addition to event space, The Ice House, which is owned by Michael Schnell and David Steinbrecher, also will include a coffee shop and a deli on the ground floor facing Main Street. The seven-story building will be home to additional retail and office spaces, as well as residential condominiums and apartments.
Even though the venue is in the very thick of development and boasts more dirt and construction dust than finished space, the buzz is building. The Ice House and Crushed Ice Events have already begun booking events. “The excitement is not just with us, it’s with our potential clients,” Curtis said. “We have a dirt floor to show people – and they want it.”
That’s because owners Schnell and Steinbrecher never did see the “face value” of The Ice House when they purchased the historic building that operated as a literal icehouse in the early part of the 1900s, said Schnell. Instead, “they could see what (the building) could be. They could see what it will be.”
Ice House owners have long development track record
The owners of The Ice House are Michael B. Schnell and David A. Steinbrecher, both of Louisville. Schnell is the founder and VP of Schnell Contractors, a regional concrete restoration and waterproofing contractor. David Steinbrecher is the founder and president of Derek Engineering, a regional general contracting firm specializing in both new construction and renovation work for both commercial and industrial clients. Their projects include new schools, medical facilities, retail centers and restaurants along with work for industrial clients.
Steinbrecher has been involved as a developer in a number of other successful projects ranging from retail centers to multi-family apartments and condominiums. The two have been successfully involved in many other construction and development projects throughout the greater Louisville-area.
Steinbrecher originally purchased the Arctic Ice Building in August 2007. At that time, the economic conditions and market studies indicated a strong market for downtown housing development. The initial few months were spent researching the architectural layout options to convert the seven-story tower portion of the ice building into luxury condominiums or apartments. In February 2010, Schnell, a long-time high school and college friend and business peer, became a 50-percent partner in the project and together they brainstormed new ideas for the historic space. After researching the market of other venues and other catering operations, supplemented by the proximity to the new KFC Yum! Center as well as other related revitalization efforts planned for Main Street, the business idea to create a “one-stop-shop” catering and event hall space sprung forth, and the work to turn Crushed Ice Events and The Ice House into a reality began., Additionally, it was determined that the Arctic Ice building would be segmented into three distinct business opportunities – The Ice House (in the rear facing Washington Street), retail (in the front facing Main Street), and office/residential (in the seven-story tower).
At a Glance…
The Ice House
The Ice House is a brand-new multi-use facility located in the Old Arctic Ice building at 217 E. Main St. Once it officially opens in July, it will be able to accommodate events for up to 600 people seated or 1,800 standing.
Crushed Ice Events
“¢ The Ice House will house a 2,000 square-feet catering kitchen and an on-premise catering and event planning service, Crushed Ice Events, which manages The Ice House.
“¢ The Ice House will have a 4,500 square-foot main hall will feature two full-service bars, optional stage and/or runway, sound and light capabilities and a video wall with the ability to seat up to 250 people or accommodate 800 standing. It will also have 3,000 square feet of adjacent outdoor space.
“¢ The 1,200 square-feet business conference center will accommodate 50 to 75 people and feature state-of-the-art projection screens, videoconferencing capabilities, Wi-Fi and light and sound systems.
Roof Terrace Garden
“¢ The 4,000 square-feet rooftop garden can accommodate 150 people seated and 650 people standing. It features a bar, optional stage and landscaped green room, as well as view of the downtown Louisville skyline.
“¢ The Ice House will house a number of tenants, including a coffee shop and deli and various retail stores, as well residential condominiums and apartments. Bella Grace Studios, for example, is currently operating out of the new facility. The studio, guided by principal photographer Josh Merideth, photographs 40 weddings a year and does commercial work for a number of businesses in Louisville, including 21c Museum Hotel and The Voice-Tribune.
Category: Cover Stories
About the Author (Author Profile)
Angie Fenton is Managing Editor of The Voice-Tribune, a Blue Equity company. She is also an entertainment correspondent for WHAS11′s new morning show, “Great Day Live!”, which debuted August 22 on Louisville’s ABC affiliate. Additionally, Angie is an entertainment correspondent for the Saturday Morning Show with Ron ‘n’ Mel Fisher on 84WHAS (840 AM) and has served in the same capacity for Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks; Breeders’ Cup; and Circuit of the Americas during the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix in November 2012. Angie also serves as an emcee, host, voiceover professional and on-camera commercial talent.
Angie has a bachelor’s and master’s in English from Central Michigan University and began her career as an adjunct professor at her alma mater. She is the youngest of five — four of whom were adopted, including Angie, and none of whom are biologically related. She is also a Michigan native who moved to Kentucky in June 2002. Angie is owned by two dogs — Herbie and Yoda — and feels lucky to have loved and been loved by many more, including Pooch, Jessie, Onyx, Jack and Big Bud, who took his last breath on Christmas Day 2012.