America's Icehouse: Construction

The Texas City location of America's Icehouse with its sail and canopy structure and steel freight container format.

America's Icehouse: Construction

America's Icehouse taking shape while under construction on Texas City's newly-renovated 6th Street.

America's Icehouse is based on an innovative, modular, steel and sail structure. The architecturally striking building can be transported to a suitable site by standard 18 wheeler trucks (without special permits) and erected by a non-specialized crew in one weekend (after site work and foundation are completed). It is based on one or more steel freight containers and a unique system of steel masts, sails and canopies to form a light, airy, open pavilion.

Although the modular building itself is adaptable to any usage, our initial concept is a reproducible building/business structure package called "America's Icehouse". Very simply, it is an old fashioned styled icehouse. Our initial Icehouse, at 622 6th St. N in Texas City, has a large, rectangular, full-liquor bar, and a great deal of outside seating. It has a pool table, movie-screen projection video for sports and movies, dramatic exterior lighting and very reasonable drink and beer prices.

It is designed for efficiency and economy. It is cooled by ceiling and exterior fans, augmented by the energy efficient design. Thus, the utility bills are low. It connects to electric (200 to 400 amp single phase) and city water and sewer. It has two handicapped approved bathrooms, It is fully licensed and permitted for all jurisdictions.

It is absolutely indestructible and durable. The walls are 1/8 inch Cor-ten steel. The beams, posts and other structural members are heavy steel. It is virtually fireproof. Floods would ruin only contents. The roll-up doors are 140 mph rated. The sails, because of their construction and tension, can survive all but hurricane strength winds, and can be easily removed and stored in the event of a major hurricane.

The re-use of the steel freight containers, the lightness with which the structure sits on the land, and the open air concept makes it a "green" project.

One bartender can run it in all but the busiest times. Thus, labor costs are low.

America's Icehouse: Construction

We hung the sails and, built decks, a stage, gardens, fountains, a fire pit and partially clad the icehouse in stone.

The concept franchise package includes the brand "America's Icehouse", a concept that appeals to the customer demographic. Appropriate signage, corporate logos, building design, merchandising (T-shirts, coozies, etc.); and advertising supports the brand and each individual franchisee. The business package includes a preloaded computer with pre-formatted Quickbooks-based spreadsheeting, proprietary forms for inventory control, mixed beverage and sales tax calculations, daily check outs, employment forms, cash control, safe audit and other relevant forms, rules and procedures.

The franchisee purchases his own equipment, through special lease purchase arrangements with major suppliers, and facilitated through the franchisor. The franchisor guides the franchisee through the liquor license/TABC process using qualified, experienced agents. Liquor and bar suppliers are introduced to the franchisee and initial and recurring orders placed. Daily, weekly, monthly and annual checklists are provided. Standard print media ads are provided and kept updated and fresh. The franchisee participates in joint advertising ventures, through a joint fund. Website, email and test programs are in place. Drink menus and promotional campaigns are concepted and facilitated. Strict quality control by the franchisor ensures that the public comes to know one franchise and thereafter will feel comfortable in every America's Icehouse.

The flagship model has been built and constructed in Texas City. A second location on the busy shop and restaurant filled W. Main Street in LaPorte has been acquired and is ready for an Icehouse to be installed. Locations are being scouted now for additional sites in the Houston area. The secondary phase will include further penetration in the Houston area market (up to about six locations). Thereafter, other large Texas metropolitan areas will be targeted. The buildings are susceptible to mass production, with the physical site being the primary limiting factor.

America's Icehouse: Construction

We still have to set tables and chairs, set our equipment, sound and video and finish up all the little projects—but we're close!

America's Icehouse: Construction

We set the steel masts and outriggers and began to dig utilities, pour concrete and begin landscaping.

America's Icehouse: Construction

After paint and construction of the interior bar and bathrooms the containers were trucked to our new Texas City location, where foundation was ready for them.

The prototype structure now erected in Texas City itself has over 800 interior square feet. The area under the canopy is about 2500 square feet. The overall dimensions of the building is 17x48. The canopy dimensions are 40x72. The top of the sails are about 26 feet high. Overall height, including the signage is 31 feet.

♦ View more construction images in our Flickr gallery

A "second generation" America's Icehouse has been designed: smaller, stronger, cheaper, and more mobile. It is based on a single 40' steel "hi-cube" container, with the bar at one end and seating outside it, shaded and shielded by overhanging canopies. Two handicap accessible restrooms complete the other side. It still has a very similar, large steel mast and canopy structure 32' x 64'. Contracts are in place to produce them efficiently at a Houston area fabrication shop, in any quantity desired.

♦ View elevation and floor plans

The site itself must preferably be at least 50x100 plus parking. The site must be on a major traffic artery, with high traffic count and visibility. Corners are greatly preferred. Because the concept does not easily allow exclusion of customers, due to the low drink prices and open seating, customer demographic similarity is required. In other words, this is a neighborhood bar, and although the concept will work equally well in an inner city urban environment or a suburban site near a subdivision, neighbors need be comfortable with their neighbors. For this reason, otherwise suitable transitional, (up and coming) commercial areas might not work.

The steel and sail structure can be transported to a suitable site by standard 18 wheeler trucks (without special permits) and erected by a non-specialized crew in one weekend, after site and foundation work is completed. It is based on one or more steel freight containers and a unique system of steel masts, sails and canopies to form a light, airy, open pavilion.

It is absolutely indestructible and durable. The walls are 1/8 inch Cor-ten steel. The beams, posts and other structural members are heavy steel. It is virtually fireproof. Floods would ruin only contents. The roll-up doors are 140 mph rated. The sails, because of their construction and tension, can survive all but hurricane strength winds, and can be easily removed and stored in the event of a major hurricane.

We picked our containers from a huge stack in a container yard near the Ship Channel in Houston.

One of our containers.

Giant forklifts load our containers on trucks to be taken to the fabrication shop in the Pearland area.


Our welders removed large sections for doors, etc, and welded new supports and bracing.

Big sleeves were welded to the structure that accept the 20 foot masts. Half of the sails were set for trial purposes-they look great and the structure feels like a giant sailboat!

We painted the exterior with the NASA-developed ceramic technology coating called "Supertherm"-providing superior R-value, heat transference blockage and reflectivity.



♦ View elevation plan (PDF 215 Kb)


♦ View floor plan (PDF 225 Kb)
Owner: America's Icehouse

Owner Scott Arnold is onsite at the Texas City location for America's Icehouse. The outdoor bar is in the final stages of construction. Credit: Jennifer Reynolds/The Daily News

Owner: Scott Arnold

310 Main Suite 200
Houston, TX 77002
Phone: 713-227-6653
Fax: 713-227-6654
♦ scott@scottarnoldpc.com


The principal of the developer is Scott Arnold, a 30-plus year licensed Texas attorney, Mr. Arnold has designed, built and leased (to others) numerous bars, restaurants and other commercial buildings. His current leaseholds include his tenants at Pastry War, a nationally recognized upscale tequila/mescal bar in the Main Street/Market Square area of downtown Houston, housed in Mr. Arnold's historic building. Ninja Ramen, an upscale Asian cocktail/food bar, in the hot Washington Avenue corridor of Houston and Voodoo Lounge and Granite Room in Galveston are additional leased concepts housed in Arnold Interests buildings. Mr. Arnold restored, owned and operated the historic Balinese Room Pier in Galveston prior to its destruction by Hurricane Ike. It was 27000 square feet and housed several bar and restaurant concepts. Mr. Arnold has additional bar and restaurant opportunities available in Galveston and Texas City.