I am very pleased and excited to announce after waiting three and a half months and jumping through a number of governmental hoops, we have received our construction permit which allows us to finally begin construction on our new LEX 530 Event Center! The center will be located in our corporate facility located at 530 East Lexington Avenue in Elkhart.
The building, The Lexington Business Centre (LBC), got its start as the home of Pacemaker Trailer Company, one of the earliest RV companies in the market. I purchased the 40,000-square-foot building in 1990 in a public/private partnership with the City of Elkhart and the State of Indiana. The state had developed a program to assist in the creation of small business incubators. We were the first community to participate in the program and the first “for profit” incubator in the State of Indiana.
It became a model operation…so much so that the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) sent a number of individuals from around the world to visit our facility. One of the major benefits of this relationship was the opportunity for me to travel the world while lecturing on the development and operation of small business incubators.
The LBC offered single offices and flex space from 1,000 to 1,500 square feet with a number of features that the tenants could take advantage of for little or no cost. These features included things such as shared conference rooms, secretarial services, use of a fork lift, loading dock, etc.
After an extensive renovation of the LBC our first tenant moved in the fall of 1990. Our occupancy remained strong until the economic down turn in 2002. At that point the commercial real estate market in Elkhart began to change. It went from numbers of sole proprietors to larger operations. The need for our space and services diminished or became non-existent.
Over the past several years Mrs. Tiedemann and I began to figure out a plan to repurpose the LBC. After exploring several different concepts we began planning an event center. We did the normal entrepreneurial “stuff.” We did a great deal of research on the operating of event centers; researched the local market; created several small business plans; and attempted to analyze several cash flow options.
In the fall of 2017 we made the decision to proceed with our idea of opening an event center. The decision to move forward with our plans required us to move existing tenants around in the building, in an effort to secure the largest space possible. After we made the decision to proceed we spent a lot of time creating different floor plans, kitchen layouts, etc. in an effort to maximize the space and make it interesting and as efficient as possible.
Once we determined the size of the space, approximately 7,850 square feet, we retained several architects and our favorite interior architect/designer Debra Weninger of Debra Weninger Design in Chicago. We have worked exclusively with Debra on our home in Chicago and we admire her talents. She also understands what Mrs. Tiedemann and I envision in a project and what we want to accomplish. The architects we are working with are Eric Leedy and Progressive Engineering.
Over the past two months, while we waited on our construction permit, we hired a manager for the event center. Lou Ann Welsh comes to our project with many years of experience. She and her husband Brent Spring had their own event center (very similar to the one we are planning). Our family and staff are very excited to have Lou Ann as a part of our team. Rounding out our team are Melissa Hiner, Marketing and Creative Director, and my Senior Executive Assistant and Social Media Specialist, Courtney Catanzarite.
One of the major decisions that needed to be made was what are we were naming the event center. After many different discussions, long conversations and assistance from marketing folks, we all decided to name the event center LEX 530 Metropolitan Event Center. Our management company has been named Lexington Event Management.
The LEX 530 Metropolitan Event Center will be able to seat up to 225 people comfortably and will also have a private dining area. We will have a new licensed commercial kitchen similar to many restaurants. Our liquor license is currently a 2-way permit which will allow us to serve beer and wine at events, and allows for carry out if you decide you want to purchase some of our excellent wines while you are at an event. The interior design is what is referred to as “urban electric.” It will resemble urban loft space with open ceilings, round duct work, track lighting, vinyl plank flooring, etc.
In the beginning we will be working with three different catering operations to provide food for our events: Uptown Kitchen Catering, Chubby Trout Catering and Elcona Country Club. All three feature extensive catering menus. Someday we hope to have our own chef and kitchen staff to work with our clients.
LEX 530 will provide space for business events, trade shows, company holiday dinners, weddings, wedding receptions, birthday parties, New Year’s Eve events and even baby showers. In addition to providing space for your events, LEX 530 intends to expand the Tiedemann on Wines Wine Club and hold sponsored monthly wine events including dinners, tastings, etc. We also intend to form a Dinner Club featuring dinners, cooking lessons, visiting chefs and so on.
We hope the construction will not be delayed further as we plan to be open for events in the first part of September. We are in the process of developing our website and phone app. Once completed you will be able to check our events calendar, book your event and find information regarding our rates, caterers and an array of other information. We are already booking events starting in October of 2018. If you would like more information or are interested in booking an event, please call Lou Ann Welsh at 574-296-1335.
We look forward to seeing you all at LEX 530!
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Until next week,
Calendar of Events
- June 11th – International Rosé Wine Day
- June 20th – National Lambrusco Day
- August 1st – International Albariño Day
- August 18th – International Pinot Noir Day
- September 3rd – International Cabernet Day
- September 15th – International Grenache Day
- November 7th – International Merlot Day
- November 12th – International Tempranillo Day
- November 15th – International Zinfandel Day
- December 16th – National Wine Club Day
- December 20th – National Sangria Day
- December 31st – National Champagne Day