Planning meeting at Urban Design Studio this weekend
Planning meeting at Urban Design Studio this weekend

(Updated July 18, noon to reflect details confirmed with one of the project leaders)

Remember Museum Plaza? Hard to forget the doomed 62-story project, isn’t it. What was supposed to be one of the most innovative spaces in the city is now a vacant lot across from 21c.

But for four weeks this fall it will once again be a space for innovation, culture and fun.

Deanna Mitchell is an interaction designer at the Louisville branch of the Mad*Pow design firm and founder of the Louisville chapter of IxDA, a non-profit organization that “wants to improve the human condition by advancing the discipline of interaction design.”

IxDA, City Collaborative, Urban Design Studio and the Louisville Downtown Partnership  have been granted permission to “activate” that 16,000 square foot space for four weeks around IdeaFestival and Maker Faire. They will be working with local brewers to get that industry a little of the love usually reserved for bourbon. The space will also be a performance venue and a lounge. Exact dates of the space activation are still pending.

Interested parties met at the W. Main St. site last week to brainstorm — they were woodworkers, techies, landscape architects, event coordinators and just people excited about the idea of turning this vacant space into a lounge and a business.

So far, Mitchell says she’s had no problem getting people excited about this plan. Part of the reason people are happy to get on board is that there’s a very successful model to follow. Tennessee Brewery Untapped in Memphis was the site of a similar pop-up historic space activation this past spring: a beer garden, performance space and lounge. They invested $35,000 in the creation of the space and saw a huge return on investment.

It’s important to maintain some of the cool aesthetics of the site, which is below street level, but Mitchell says some construction measures must be taken because some of it is unsafe.

Mitchell intends to create a gaming system for the space using technology similar to the poetry wall in the lobby of 21c Hotel. They will be in talks with food trucks and possibly a local restaurant to handle the business side of things.

Mitchell expects the space to be “chill” and “lounge-y” — “No rock bands,” she says. But movies? Opera? The Orchestra? The Ballet? Absolutely. She envisions ballet dancers and musicians wanting to use the performance space to try new and experimental takes on their arts.

To stay up on developments on this project or to volunteer, follow Louisville IxDA on Facebook.



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