A group of local investors, some of which recently purchased a historical building at 209 E. Main St. in downtown Louisville, announced today its plans to develop and operate a private club dedicated to promoting and supporting the Thoroughbred industry.
The Louisville Thoroughbred Society™ will be converting and renovating the entire second floor of the historic Fetzer building site into an exclusive, upscale restaurant, bar and entertainment center featuring modern facilities, seminar and meeting space, and other amenities with the Thoroughbred enthusiast in mind.
In addition, The Louisville Thoroughbred Society™ will be the future home of “The Pressbox™,” a locally-produced media suite that will feature live podcasts, webcasts, news, features, handicapping tips and wagering advice from a list of prominent handicappers and horsemen. Additionally, The Pressbox™ will feature breeding analysis, fashion advice, farm snapshots and other information pertaining to the Thoroughbred industry. The media mind behind The Pressbox™ is also the founder of the Louisville Thoroughbred Society, Gene McLean.
As the space is renovated, it will feature a glassed-encased, state of the art broadcast studio that will become the new home to The Pressbox.™ One of the many features of the studio will be a view from Main Street, as passersby will be able to watch interviews, content production and broadcasts live as content is produced. This will become the home to the Thoroughbred Industry’s newest and finest media outlet.
Currently The Pressbox™ is being produced from a temporary space inside The Ice House building, next to the proposed club. Near term highlights include a Derby Week launch of the website, which will be hosted at www.thepressboxlts.com
“We are thrilled to announce our intentions to build – from the ground up – one of the most beautiful, prestigious, and tradition-rich facilities in all of Louisville,” said Mike Schnell, one of the co-owners of the former Fetzer building, and one of the primary investors in the new project. “Once completed, this space will incorporate the feel of the old, historic clubs that used to operate in downtown Louisville, but will be equipped with all the modern technologies, and the latest in state of the art audio and visual capabilities. The finished product will offer handicappers and the horse enthusiast a venue of comfort and wagering capabilities unlike any other in the region. We are committed to having a first-class operation, appealing to the racing fan that enjoys the feel of a clubhouse suite with red carpet treatment and all the amenities of private membership.”
The Louisville Thoroughbred Society will offer quality food options and full beverage products, private dining and meeting areas and exclusive rooms for special engagements and private parties. In addition, plans for a roof- top cigar bar, with member only access are in the plans as well. An attached parking garage will be constructed, topped with a “green, or living roof” and will also provide a patio area.
Preliminary architectural drawings have been completed and the developers will be submitting final plans and construction timelines to the city’s planning and zoning commission for full approval.
At this time, the developer’s hope construction will be complete for a grand opening prior to The Breeders Cup 2018, which will be hosted by Churchill Downs.
“The creation and development of The Louisville Thoroughbred Society is wonderful news for all participants in Kentucky’s Thoroughbred industry, its stakeholders in racing and breeding, our region’s tourism industry and, most important, the passionate fan base that embraces our industry as an essential part of life in the state during Kentucky Derby Week and year-round,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “The first horse races during Louisville’s early days were run on Main Street, so the site of the Louisville Thoroughbred Society’s facilities provide a strong and appropriate link to our industry’s past and a vibrant future.”
Other city leaders have been complimentary of the proposed new venture, as well.
“This new club combines all the things that make Louisville unique – horses, bourbon and a great location in our vibrant downtown. It will also add to our tourism scene since people can join with a special day pass. Congrats to the many people who made this vision a reality,” said Mayor Greg Fischer.
“This is a concept, and soon-to-be reality that the horse lover and the serious Thoroughbred handicapper in Louisville has deserved for years,” said Dale Romans, one of the top Thoroughbred trainers in the country. “I can’t believe it has taken us this long, to be honest. But this is going to be a first class facility where we can go, enjoy the races, have fun with our friends and be able to have a great time. It will be a great compliment to the entire industry, especially those of us that live in Louisville.”
The Louisville Thoroughbred Society will be accepting membership applications on June 15 and will be limiting to the first 1,500 persons that submit and are accepted by the newly formed Board of Directors.