Over the past several months, architect Bruce Rogers has had his hands and his mind full, juggling ideas, concepts and design proposals for the newly proposed Louisville Thoroughbred Society — which is scheduled to open in 2018 in a remodeled, repurposed and completely restored historic building located at 209 East Main Street in downtown Louisville, KY. A final lease agreement is in the final stages of being negotiated, finalized, and should be completed within the next few weeks.
Rogers, who is the genius behind CBR Architects PLLC, has worked on drawings. He has worked on layouts. He has designed space specifically for premier dining; private meeting rooms; a central bar and entertainment area; and a high-end cigar bar. He has designed space to be utilized inside the historic building, and additional outdoor space to be located on the rooftop of what will be a newly constructed parking structure adjacent to the facility.
And, just when he thought he may have nailed the concept? Well, he got some requests to make additional changes and alterations. He got new ideas, and more suggestions. He was asked to accommodate this addition, and, perhaps, consider that subtraction.
Such is the life of an architect.
Yet, while the final design may still get some slight modifications, Rogers is getting close. And, so is the final design for the Louisville Thoroughbred Society. Late on Tuesday night, Oct. 3, 2017, Rogers released a sneak peak at the future when he made three different looks for the new operation available to the principals to review.
“There still may be some alterations and changes,” said Mike Schnell, who purchased the property in conjunction with business partner Dave Steinbrecher. That duo combined forces to repurpose the old “Ice House” property on Main Street, as well, and it is now a multipurpose property with convention space; catering business; and operates as a top-end apartment complex. “But I would say that this look is about 80 to 90 percent complete. We are getting close.”
The Louisville Thoroughbred Society is a new, private club that will be dedicated to serving those invested in, interested in, working in, and fans of the Thoroughbred industry — in Kentucky, North America and around the world.
The new facility is scheduled to include state-of-the art audio and video equipment that will allow members to view and review Thoroughbred racing and other major sporting events to be viewed in a theatre-like atmosphere; fine dining options; a premium cigar bar experience with the state’s largest walk-in humidor and most select selection of world-class cigars; private liquor cabinets; a top-end bar area that will feature distinctive bar foods and appetizers; locker-room like changing areas, equipped with private storage areas; and valet parking options — all of which will be offered with first class, concierge service. The Club will also be the host of a broadcasting studio that will be the home of The Pressbox, an online news magazine dedicated to covering Thoroughbred racing and breeding. The studio will be able to record both audio casts and podcasts with personalities in the industry.
The various forms of membership into the club is being formalized now, and membership applications should be made available to those interested in participating before the end of 2017. Membership applications are scheduled to be available online soon. Organizers of the private club are hoping to have the facility fully functioning before October of 2018, and in plenty of time before the 2018 Breeders’ Cup — which is to be hosted in Louisville by Churchill Downs.
“This is an exciting time for us,” said Gene McLean, the Publisher of The Pressbox and Founder of The Louisville Thoroughbred Society and one of its three Founding Members — along with Schnell and Steinbrecher. “The look is coming together. The building will be coming together. And, we are getting calls and inquiries about membership every day. This will be an exciting addition to downtown Louisville and the Thoroughbred industry in Kentucky.
“I can’t wait to see the dust flying and the buildings begin to take actual shape. Mike and Dave are two of the most innovative thinking people I have ever been around. They are tremendous partners in this. We are in it together.”
The first look that Rogers released is an aerial view of what the facility will look like. The view, from Washington Street towards Main Street, shows an outdoor, green roof look that will allow members and their guests to enjoy an outside dining and bar experience. A class enclosed area have an “open air” option on days and nights when the weather permits, but will be fully operational throughout the year.
The second look is a ground view from the back of the building (along Washington Street) towards the soon-to-be destination. A parking garage will be constructed in a vacant lot between the Ice House and the new building. The top of the new parking garage will serve as the rooftop area for The Louisville Thoroughbred Society.
The third view is a look from Main Street toward the five-story building. There will be a main entrance to both the parking garage and the building form Main Street. The Louisville Thoroughbred Society is slated to occupy the second floor of the building, with the premier dining experience overlooking Main Street. The rest of the floor will occupy the main bar area, congregation areas, and the cigar bar. All of these areas will have access to the roof-top experience.
The developers are still considering several options for the top three floors of the renovated building — which features some of the finest wood structures and support beams of any location in the area. But it is expected to include some area for condominiums, apartments and other multi-purpose units.
The race is on.