Ice-Box Co Labs Officially Opening On Main Street

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Inside the collaborative work space (Courtesy Ice Box Co Labs)
Inside the collaborative work space (Courtesy Ice Box Co Labs)

Work on one of Louisville’s first collaborative working spaces has been going on slowly for about a year, but the Ice Box Co Labs is ready to welcome creative professionals to their new space at 217 East Main Street in the Ice House Lofts building. Co-working space fosters a community-like space (that’s not a coffee shop!) that allows independent creative professionals and freelancers to gain access to amenities normally reserved for larger firms.

Co-founders Frankie Steele and John Wurth, both independent freelancers, have turned 8,000 square feet on the ground level of the Ice House Lofts into their vision of Louisville’s largest collaborative working space including a ping pong table, a MAME arcade cabinet, a Star Wars pinball machine, a 60-inch HDTV, and a vintage refrigerator serving as their mascot.

That’s not including the actual work side of the endeavor. Ice Box Co Labs features 3,000 square feet of open office space able to accommodate 22 coworkers and a 3,500 square foot mixed-use room with conferencing capabilities for private meetings. There’s also a 1,500 square foot recording studio operated by Four Legged Dog Recordings.

Here’s a little background from Ice Box:

Back in October of last year [2008] John and I were at a party at Bright Foundry talking about our working spaces: he was about to lose his, I was working at home, we both needed an office, but could not afford to rent on our own. What would happen if we got some space together? We could definitely afford more space. Would it be a problem that we were competitors? We both work in some of the same fields, web / design / photography. Neither of us could come up with any accounts that we both had bid on or worked for we could set some ground rules, like no poaching. Would working together negatively affect our friendship? Again set some ground rules: don’t be an a$hole, remember that business is about making money, my success in not your failure. A few drinks later we decided to look for some offices.

Much of the renovation work was done by Steele and Wurth over the past year, leading to a grand opening ceremony on May 28, from 5:00 until midnight featuring hot rod inspired artwork and music by White Noise Project Space, Solid Rock’It Boosters, Dangerbird, and Bad Blood. The evening dubbed “Chopped & Channeled” will offer fine art influenced by biker, greaser, punk, and tattoo culture.

Steele and Wurth are currently accepting coworkers to join their space and can be contacted at 502.498.8871 or by e.mail at info (at) iceboxco-labs (dot) com. Be sure to check out their website and their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter for continued updates.

Ice Box Co Labs is the first step in realizing the Ice House Lofts, the vision of business partners David Steinbrecher and David Barhorst. Eventually, the former Arctic Building will be transformed into a mixed-use space with condos, apartments, office, and retail space. Developers Steinbrecher and Barhorst recently were awarded an $85,000 METCO loan to assist with the project.

Included in the Ice House Lofts project and situated next door to the Ice Box Co Labs, 5,700 square feet of retail space called the Ice House Shops is currently being leased for retail and restaurant operations. The building is located half a block from Slugger Field and two blocks from the new arena. For more information about retail space, contact David Steinbrecher at 502.266.0041 for layout options and pricing.

Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden is a writer and architectural designer living in Brooklyn. After graduating from the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, Branden practiced architecture in Louisville where he worked on several large LEED Certified buildings. Branden is the senior web editor at The Architect’s Newspaper, where he covers architecture, design, and urbanism. He has also written about design for Designers & Books, sustainability for Inhabitat, and architecture for the American Institute of Architects. He founded Broken Sidewalk in 2007, an online collaborative promoting architecture and urbanism in Louisville, Kentucky and the Midwest.


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