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Archive for Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Masonic temple attracting strong interest

September 30, 2003

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A sale may be looming on one of downtown Lawrence's landmark buildings.

About 50 potential buyers have toured the Scottish Rite Temple, 1001 Mass., in the last four months, Doug Brown, real estate agent with Coldwell Banker Commercial McGrew Real Estate, said Monday.

Brown, who is the listing agent for the nearly 22,000-square-foot property, said he believed a development group was poised to make an offer on the building.

"I really do think something will happen soon," Brown said. "We've just have had an incredible amount of interest."

Brown said developers have had many ideas for the building. He said ideas discussed have included retail shops, a large restaurant or even a music venue.

Lawrence-area Freemasons decided to sell their longtime temple and meeting hall in mid-May, citing a need for a smaller, less-costly building.

The building's design makes it one of the most distinctive on Massachusetts Street, Brown said. Built in 1911, it features Egyptian Revival-style architecture, several meeting rooms, a 275-seat auditorium and balcony, and, in the basement, a dining room that's 55 feet wide and a half-block long.

"The pure uniqueness of the building is a real selling point, especially for anyone who is trying to attract retail customers," Brown said.

Brown said the asking price for the temple was $775,000. Also available for purchase are the Scottish Rite office building and the former home of The Variety Store, which are directly south of the temple. Those two spaces are listed for $600,000.

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