Fort Smith-based Beaty Capital Group now owns two former Masonic Temples. The group is set to close on a third temple in a few months, and before the year ends could acquire six more of the historic and unique facilities.
Beaty Capital announced Monday (Jan. 29) it had agreed to buy the Zembo Shrine in Harrisburg, Pa., that was built in 1928 and opened in 1930. The list price was $950,000, but Beaty Capital President Lance Beaty was mum on what he paid.
The Harrisburg deal is the third Temple acquired by Beaty in less than four years. Beaty acquired the historic 53,000-square-foot Masonic Temple in downtown Fort Smith in November 2014 in a $2.5 million deal. The three-story building at 200 N. 11th St. was built in 1928 and has numerous meeting rooms and a theatre capable of seating 900. It reopened in August 2017 after around $5 million in renovations. The group also acquired the 200,000-square-foot Masonic Temple in Cleveland, Ohio in March 2017, and plans to invest $18 million in the historic structure.
Analysis is ongoing as to the cost of renovations with the Harrisburg site, but it’s not likely to be cheap, Beaty said.
“It will take millions of dollars for things like that (heating and air work and other updates), but the building is water tight and in great shape,” he told Talk Business & Politics.
Continuing, he noted: “These are all 1920s and 1930s (buildings). You can’t replicate the beauty you find with them and how well built they were. … We’re not working on a strip mall renovation where you can price it out at so much (dollars) a square foot. We’re preserving history.”
Beaty Capital Group provided in the statement this summary description of the Zembo Shrine: “The ornate building is a beautiful example of Moorish Revival architecture. The building, containing approximately 65,000 square feet with approximately 396 adjacent parking spaces, is one of the truly outstanding architectural buildings in the Harrisburg area. Designed by architect Charles Howard Lloyd, it was dedicated on May 19, 1930. The interior design includes examples of beautiful Moroccan influenced arches, chandeliers and ornate hand-painted motifs in multiple event rooms along with a large theater capable of accommodating from 700 to 2,500 people for entertainment and live performance events.”
The deal was praised by Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse.
“The plans call for protecting this unique and historic structure and expanding opportunities for concerts and special events that will attract people from throughout the region. This is a truly wonderful development for our city,” the mayor noted in a statement from Beaty Capital Group.
Mike Brown, vice president of acquisition and development for Beaty Capital Group, said plans for the Zembo project are scheduled to be announced in May.
But prior to May, Beaty predicted more news on other Temple deals.
“We have six others under contract. We may release info on three others next month.”