Fort Smith-based Beaty Capital buys Masonic Temple in Cleveland, closer to opening Fort Smith Temple

by Michael Tilley ( 2,214 views 

View of the theater in the Masonic Temple and Performing Arts Center in Cleveland.

Beaty Capital Group, the parent company managing the renovation of the historic Masonic Temple in Fort Smith, has acquired the Masonic Temple and Performing Arts Center in Cleveland with plans to invest $18 million in its renovation.

Lance Beaty, owner of Fort Smith-based Beaty Capital, confirmed with Talk Business & Politics the transaction made public Monday in this Cleveland Plain Dealer article.

“It’s a good market,” Beaty said of the Cleveland location. “It’s sandwiched between the Playhouse Square, which is the theater district there in the downtown, and the Cleveland Clinic, so it’s really a great location.”

Beaty Capital paid $725,000 for the 102,000-square-foot building. Beaty said the 60,000-square-feet of theater space is in relatively good shape and is open now for events. The Masons who now meet in the space have signed a lease agreement and will continue to use portions of the temple. However, Beaty plans to modernize the theater area and the remaining 40,000 square feet. Financing for the deal is through United Federal Credit Union of St. Joseph, Mich., Beaty said.

“We’re excited to have outside investors coming in,” Jeff Epstein, executive director of the MidTown Cleveland, Inc., neighborhood group, noted in the Plain Dealer article. “We’re happy to work with them and do whatever we can to make sure that building stays an anchor in Midtown.”

Beaty, Mike Brown, vice president of acquisition and development for Beaty, and David Conyers, with the Fort Smith-based architectural firm Studio 6, will in the next few months consider their options and unveil renovation plans sometime in July. Beaty said the structure of the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is solid.

The Masonic Temple and Performing Arts Center in Cleveland.

“It’s just amazing and well built. These buildings were built in the golden era of American architecture,” he said.

He’s such a fan of the Masonic buildings that he has plans to buy three more in the “central states,” with each possibly having an $18 million price tag for renovation.

Renovation on the 53,000-square-foot Masonic Temple in downtown Fort Smith is ongoing, Beaty said, admitting that the work has taken much longer than anticipated. An initial opening date was in November 2016, but Beaty said it will take at least six months longer.

“These are complicated buildings. We’re not going to open it until it’s right,” he said.

The building is being renovated as a “multipurpose event facility,” to include a restaurant, and space for corporate and civic events, family reunions, weddings, and charity events. Beaty said the investment will tally somewhere around $5 million.

Through Temple Holdings LLC, Beaty acquired the Masonic Temple Nov. 6, 2014 in a $2.5 million deal that at the time was estimated to include property acquisition and redevelopment costs. The 3-story building located at 200 N. 11th St., was designed by architect George Mann of Little Rock in conjunction with architects J.J. Haralson and E.C. Nelson of Fort Smith. It has numerous meeting rooms and a theatre capable of seating 900.

Beaty said “sometime in the month of April” they will begin announcing opening dates and acts for the theater on the Temple Live website.

“Just stay tuned. We’re coming.”