Wednesday, November 14, 2012

5th Floor of Sunsphere Opens in 2012

After months of struggling with fire codes and regulations from the Public Building Authority, Tony Cappiello has opened the Icon Ultra Lounge on the 5th floor of the Sunsphere.

Cappiello, who has exclusive rental rights to the space on the 5th floor of the 30 year old theme structure of the 1982 World’s Fair, said he has invested an estimated $450,000 to renovate the space. The capacity is now 120 making it three times larger than its predecessor, The Skybox.

Cappiello said he chose to light up the floors, bars and tables so guests could be "wowed by the experience."

Cappiello said that his plans took into consideration the panoramic view and placed seating in special areas so guests can enjoy the sunsets. He added two-seat tables near the windows and large, over-stuffed booths to round out the new theme.

A new electrical system was installed, the floor was reworked and stained sky blue and a fireplace was added to create a cozy corner. A DJ booth, a second bar and two additional restrooms were also added.

The Rain Bar, which has a continuous stream of water that flows through the bar top and into a nearby water wall, is on one side. The Sun Bar is on the other side and is topped with onyx and covered with gold tufted panels aimed at capturing the look of the famous gold glass panels.

Cappiello said that he studied other bars in cities such as Chicago, Las Vegas and New Orleans. "We wanted to make it an upscale, higher-end establishment," he said.

Cappiello is an attorney and developer who also purchased the Lord Lindsey, another downtown landmark that he plans to convert into a nightclub. Cappiello said that he enjoyed designing the Icon Ultra Lounge himself. “Choosing the colors, materials and furniture is one of my favorite parts in the process," he said.

Since parking is always a problem at the Sunsphere, Cappiello said spaces are available at the nearby Knoxville Museum of Art, in the lot next to Church Street United Methodist Church and the Locust Street parking garage next to the YMCA. He says he will provide a golf cart to circle the grounds and plans to add a valet service in the future.

Icon Ultra Lounge is closed on Mondays and is open 4 p.m. to midnight Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 4 p.m. to 3 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.

The 4th floor of the Sunsphere contains the Observation Center and is open from dawn to dusk most days of the year. It is free to the public, however, shoes and shirt are required. Children must be accompanied by an adult. No swimwear allowed. The 6th floor of the Sunsphere is open for rental through Sara Spangler and can be used for small to large parties, weddings, and other events. Call 865 363 9538 for information about how you can rent the space.

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