Event center to open downtown
Developers hope to meet demand for medium-sized weddings, other parties
ELKHART — Revitalization of the downtown River District continues as local real estate developers Carl and Emilie Tiedemann prepare for the opening of an event center at 530 E. Lexington Ave. for weddings and other parties.
The Tiedemanns, who expect the center to be open by Oct. 1, said the facility will accommodate up to 200 people for special occasions.
The new center, named LEX530, has about 7,800 square feet, including a nearly 900-square-foot kitchen. The Tiedemanns said they have a license to sell beer and wine at events, including their own brand of wines.
Carl Tiedemann said he hopes the center will fill what he sees as a gap in local event space.
“There’s no medium-size space,” he said. “We see spaces that are too big or too small. But what if you just need space for 100 or 150 people? That’s our goal, to meet in the middle market. So we can have business with white-collar folks and we can have the guy who works on the line at Thor and wants to have his daughter’s wedding someplace, and doesn’t need to rent Lerner Theatre.”
Tiedemann described his vision for the center as “sort of an urban eclectic type of interior. All of the latest IT stuff, and (you can) hook up your laptop or Wi-Fi, and put your stuff on drop-down screens.”
Debra Weninger of Debra Weninger Design of Chicago has been working with the Tiedemanns on their vision for the space. Also working on the project are architect Eric Leedy and Progressive Engineering.
The building was once the home of Pacemaker Trailer Co., one of the earliest RV manufacturing companies in Elkhart County.
Tiedemann said he purchased the property in 1990 as part of a public-private partnership with the city.
The space then was used as Elkhart’s first business incubator, The Lexington Business Center, drawing prospective clients from Africa, Egypt, Indonesia and China after the United Nations identified the project as a model for-profit incubator.
“They brought people here and in turn I got to go around the world talking about small-business incubators,” Tiedemann said.
The Tiedemanns have housed their business headquarters at 530 E. Lexington Ave. since 2011.
Lou Ann Welsh, who has been with the group since April, will manage the event center. She said a “wedding giveaway” is planned as a promotion in partnership with Fix Salon, the Culinary School at Ivy Tech Community College and local florists.
The winner of the contest can choose one of four dates in April for a wedding. The contest runs from Aug. 27 to Oct. 15. More information is available at the center’s website, www.lex530.com.