The 54,000-square-foot home for generations of northwest Ohio Masons is heading for the auction block early next month - with a minimum bid that's less than the price of a modest home in its south Toledo neighborhood.
The Toledo Masonic Center on Heatherdowns Boulevard, gathering place for countless local Mason, will be auctioned June 1 with five nearby vacant parcels.
Bidding on the Temple and its four-acre parcel will start at j$100,000, said Carl Carter, a spokesman for Schrader Real Estate & Auction Co. Inc. of Columbia City, Ind. The five nearby parcels also being sold, totaling 29 acres and vacant except for some parking lots, include four with frontage on Heatherdowns and one that fronts on Cass Road. The adjacent Stranahan Theater and its parking lot to the east are not included in the sale.
"In keeping with nationwide trends, the Masonic lodges that used the facility had a net loss in membership over the last few decades and no longer needed that much space," Gary McElfresh, executive secretary to the Scottish Rite Valley of Toledo, which owns the building, said in a statement. The Scottish Rite Valley of Toledo moved from the site in October, 2007, to a building at 1720 Indian Wood Circle in Maumee.
The two-story Masonic Center, built in 1969, was the Masons' home until the move. It has large meeting rooms and ballrooms, a large commercial kitchen, and office space. The auction company plans to open the building for inspection by prospective bidders from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday.
The Masonic Center's owners were involved in a protracted legal dispute two years ago over parking with its neighbors, the Stranahan Foundation, which operates the adjacent Stranahan Theater. The case, which wound its way through Lucas County Common Pleas Court, was settled last spring. Details of the settlement weren't disclosed.
Rex Schrader, president of the auction company, said the site is being marketed for reuse as a potential minimall, college or university, church, or school.
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