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Masonic Hall building in Lynn expected to be sold

The Masonic Hall in Lynn is expected to be sold to Charlie Patsios. (Spenser R. Hasak)

LYNN — The historic Lynn Masonic Hall building on Market Street is expected to be sold next month.

The pending sale leaves the Freemasons, the sellers and occupants of the building for around a century, looking for a new home.

The building is under a purchase and sale agreement with Charlie Patsios, a Swampscott developer, for an undisclosed price. The sale is expected to close in early March, according to Patsios.

The property, owned by the Lynn Masonic Temple Association and located at 64-68 Market St., is assessed at $560,600, according to land records.

The Lynn Masonic Hall, built in 1880 in a high Victorian Gothic architectural style, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Patsios said he is buying the building for its historical value and downtown location. He is undecided on what he plans to do with it, but said “everything’s on the table” as far as possible reuse. The structure is in good condition, he said, but does need some rehabilitation.

He’s working with the city to determine its reuse, and is meeting with Economic Development & Industrial Corp. Executive Director James M. Cowdell and Ward 5 Councilor Dianna Chakoutis on Tuesday to discuss ideas.

“I want to know what the needs of the city are,” Patsios said. “I want to take the high road, do what’s right and do what’s best for the city.”

Patsios said he could build apartments, but with hundreds of new housing units coming to the downtown, he wasn’t sure if the need was there.

“We do need some more apartments,” Chakoutis said, who represents the ward where the property is located. “Right now, that’s a hall up there. There’s parking issues, just stuff like that so we have to sit and talk to him.”

The sellers, the Lynn Masonic Temple Association, is comprised of three divisions of Massachusetts Freemasons, Mount Carmel Lodge A.F. and A.M., Golden Fleece Lodge A.F. and A.M. and the chapter.

The three groups make up the Lynn Masonic Lodge, part of the Grand Masonic Lodge in Boston, according to Ray King, secretary of the Lynn Lodge.

Freemasons call themselves the oldest fraternal organization in the world, with origins unclear but possibly dating back to the Middle Ages.

Patsios said he’s entered into an initial offer with the masons to keep them in the building until they get a different home. If their membership, which was been declining, stabilizes, he’s not opposed to having them remain in the building for the longer term. But the seller is not interested in either option.

King said the group plans to look outside of Lynn for a temporary spot, but find a permanent place in the city.

The Lynn Lodge was chartered in 1805, and occupied several other buildings in Lynn before moving to its current space sometime in the early 1900s, he said.

The decision was made to sell because the building is no longer suitable for the group’s needs, King said, who added Patsios has other plans for the building and doesn’t want the masons to stay for a long period of time.

With declining membership, the group had been relying on income from tenants — the first floor is rented out to a furniture store and there are offices for tenants on the second floor, according to King.

“It just became a situation where we recognized if anything occurs in the future, if an occupant who pays rent decides they wouldn’t stay any longer, we couldn’t keep the building up,” King said. “We’ve got to look for a space which is more affordable and not necessarily one where we have to rely on rental space to keep the place going.”

According to historical records, the brick building with limestone trim is marked by distinctive features such as pointed arches, a cast-iron roof balustrade and carved limestone rosettes. It is one of only two Victorian Gothic buildings remaining in the downtown and its initial use was the first Lynn YMCA building, which was one of the earliest YMCAs in the country.

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