A large, windowless brick building on East Main Street is ready to move forward as a mix of condos, apartments, office, and retail space after gaining approval from the Waterfront Development Corporation, the agency tasked with overseeing development in the area.
Ice House Lofts will fill the seven-story former Arctic Building at 217 East Main Street with a mix of uses including condos, apartments, office, and retail space. The $10 million project is being developed by David Barhorst of Sofo Development and David Steinbrecher, owner of Derek Engineering and the first residential units could be available by the end of 2010.
Development plans have been evolving but Barhorst explained the proposal calls for a mix of 36 apartments and condos on the first six floors and two penthouse condos on the top floor. Already, Barhorst is talking with one person interested in purchasing a penthouse unit.
Commercial space will line Main Street and Washington Street and a former ice manufacturing plant in the back is expected to become commercial space. Negotiations are under way with a prospective tenant but Barhorst declined to name the interested party.
Along Main Street, Ice Box Co-Labs, billed as Louisville’s first co-working environment, has already taken 5,000 square feet and will soon have a new glass facade along the loading dock portion of the structure. Crews demolished a brick wall for the window last year and it is currently covered in plywood. The co-working concept includes spaces for individuals or small groups to have offices, three conference rooms, a photo studio, and the very important ping pong table and Star Wars pinball machine.
Several non-contributing additions on Washington Street will be demolished and Barhorst says he hopes to build a small parking garage with about 100 spaces and retail space along the sidewalk. Barhorst and Steinbrecher have hired a consultant to study the layout of the garage. His earlier promise to promote bike-commuting at the Ice House still stands and he says bike lockers will be included.
When we toured the building in 2008, Barhorst pointed out the massive concrete structure inside the ice warehouse and explained how old machines still inside the building once made giant blocks of ice. Some of the old refrigeration machinery like chillers on the back of the building will be removed but Barhorst wants to keep other elements as a nod to the structure’s history. A massive steel structure holding up the chilling units on Washington Street could become a roof deck for tenants.
It’s going to take a little effort to transform a building with no windows into a comfortable place to live. As you can see in the rendering above, Ice House Lofts will have a grid of windows cut into the facade in a manner that respects the existing brick detailing. Each unit will feature its own balcony and the penthouse units will offer three balconies each. Design work is being handled by Bayus Design Works of Louisville.
Located between two of the most expensive residential projects in Downtown, the Fleur de Lis and the Waterfront Park Place, units at the Ice House Lofts offer more moderate pricing. Units will primarily offer one bedroom and range from 680 to 1,100 square feet. Rents are estimated at under $1,000. Condos on the upper floors will start at $250,000.
Barhorst and Steinbrecher are currently in negotiations with two banks to secure financing for the residential component of the project, but work will proceed on other aspects in the meantime. Telephone switching gear located on the top floor will be relocated to the roof and the glass facade along the sidewalk will be installed. A routine approval of the project floor plans must also be undertaken by the city.
Work on the residential units will begin when financing is finalized and upon final approval from the city, but Barhorst says if everything goes well, the first units could be available by the end of the year.