Creamery, brewery, bakery, restaurants and shops to anchor downtown Edmond ice house development
A dairy to market creamery, brewery, urban farming and fruit trees will be showcased at the century-old former home of the Edmond Ice Co. as the long-stalled development progresses to an opening later this year.
Brandon Lodge, who developed 8th Street Market along Oklahoma City’s Automobile Alley, took over redevelopment of The Ice House Project from prior owner Chip Fudge and has since expanded it to cover half a city block just west of downtown Edmond.
The Edmond Ice Co. started in 1909 when 2nd Street dead-ended at the town’s Santa Fe railway station. The street was excavated to run under the tracks and the ice house and adjoining horse stables were left to stand on the hill sloping down to the major traffic corridor.
“I used to see the ice house building and wonder about it while my mom was driving me to elementary school as a kid,” Lodge said. “I think it’s incredibly cool that I get to be a part of bringing it back to life. This project is personal for me. This is my town. I grew up here, I’m raising my kids here.”
How it will work
The development spans 66,000 square feet spread out among five buildings, including the historic former ice house and stables. Architects with Allford Hall Monaghan Morris designed an interior courtyard to connect three pre-existing metal buildings located west of the ice house.
Architect Wade Scaramucci credits the addition of multiple courtyards and patios to an agreement by the City of Edmond to build an 86-space parking lot on city easement fronting Edmond Road.
“Our ambition has been to stitch together a series of historic, existing and new buildings, all arranged around a series of courtyards, into a cohesive piece of city,” Scaramucci said. “We have worked closely with the City of Edmond to repurpose the adjacent space to the south into parking. This facilitates the creation of a large courtyard which is filled with native Oklahoma landscape, public art and amenity for guests.”
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Coffee and cream
In some ways the property is going back to its original use. The listing for the ice house in the National Register of Historic Places reports the portion of the ice house still standing was used as a creamery that in 1926 made 10,840 gallons of ice cream and 52,105 pounds of butter.
Cushing-based Hall’s Dairy will be opening Icehouse Urban Creamery in the center metal building facing the development’s courtyard. Raw unprocessed milk will be shipped to the creamery where visitors will be able to watch it being processed on site to create ice cream, cheeses and bottled milk. The buildings surrounding the courtyard also will be home to a taco restaurant and pizzeria, bakery and brewery.
A coffee bar, meanwhile, will include a drive-through for those on the go.
Instead of traditional landscaping consisting of bushes and plantings, Evergreen Landscape Management will be planting fruit bearing trees. An urban greenhouse will be built just south of the historic ice house building.
“This isn’t just about an interesting tenant or concept — it’s about the survival of the American family dairy farm, this one in particular, and creating a model for other family dairies to follow,” Lodge said. “We have to rethink the way we feed ourselves — our urban farm and edible landscaping throughout speak to utilizing unproductive spaces in a productive manner. COVID highlighted vulnerabilities in our industrial food system, we believe urban farming is part of the answer to the question of local food security.”
Something for the kids
The courtyard is designed to be family friendly and will include a 14-foot-long, 8-foot-tall lime green wire frame grasshopper sculpture. Lodge hopes the interactive sculpture will be popular with kids. The sculpture is a joint effort with the City of Edmond, using its matching public art grants.
“This courtyard area is personal to me,” Lodge said. “I have kids and I want a place for kids to go where it won’t annoy anybody.”
Lodge said discussions continue with potential tenants for the historic ice house, which was originally envisioned as the heart of the development.
“I think when we started this project, we were all most excited about rehabilitating the historic structures,” Lodge said. “We have a sad history around here of tearing down our beautiful old buildings and we were excited to be able to save these two. But it’s the courtyard, the interactive art grasshopper sculpture, and the adaptive re-use of crappy metal buildings that has become the heart and soul of the project.”
Staff writer Steve Lackmeyer is a 30-year reporter, columnist and author who covers downtown Oklahoma City and related urban development for The Oklahoman. Contact him at email@example.com. Please support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a subscription today at oklahoman.com/subscribe.