Masonic Lodge on sale for $1.5 million
BRECKENRIDGE – The Masons have put their 112-year-old lodge on the corner of Washington Avenue and Main Street up for sale at $1.5 million – and it’s got more than a few serious prospectors poking around.”A lot of people are running around finding out what the town’s going to want (in terms of upgrades),” said Roman Nowakiwsky, a real estate agent with ResortQuest. “We’ve got four parties that are serious.”Lodge secretary Jay “J.B.” Brosman said many of the charitable organization’s members are elderly and live in other parts of the county.”The location is not the best for what we want to do,” he said. “The parking’s bad, the lodge hall is on the second floor and most members are quite elderly. They have difficulty doing the steps. Somebody else could make better use of that corner.”Town manager Tim Gagen said the town was interested at one point in buying the building for use as a tourist information center, but he was unable to come to an agreement with the Masons – formally known as the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons.”That corner’s becoming kind of important,” he said. “We’ve got the Barney Ford (Museum) on one side, parking (along Washington Avenue). It’s an ideal location. It was a cordial discussion. We just couldn’t come to an agreement.”Instead, the town purchased the Bailey building on the southwest corner of the same intersection when it became available earlier this year.The Masonic Lodge has been on the market for less than two weeks, and has already generated interest among would-be business owners in town, Nowakiwsky said.
“Some are looking at it as a restaurant,” he said. “I think it’s the location. There’s no other location available with views of the mountain, there’s a lot of room in the back (of the lot) and it’s in usable decent shape. It just doesn’t have the commercial codes it would need. A lot has been forgiven because it’s a Masonic temple.”The 3,000-square-foot building is essentially a shell with a large meeting room, kitchen and restrooms downstairs. While structurally sound, the building would likely need to come into compliance with electrical, fire, plumbing and town historic codes – and would require even more if it were to be remodeled into a restaurant. “It’s thrilling to see that something that can be built in the Summit County environment that can last for 100 years,” said real estate broker Dan Burnett, with whom the lodge is co-listed. “So many of these condos around here were built like junk. This building is amazingly sound.”The Masons – the Breckenridge lodge has 60 members – meet upstairs twice a month and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) members meet downstairs at least once a week. Brosman said they are free to relocate with the Masons, but that could result in having no AA chapter in Breckenridge.The Masons are looking at other buildings in the north end of the county to relocate, including the Rebekkah Lodge behind the Dillon Texaco in Dillon and the old senior building in Frisco, now the town’s Frisco Recreation Building.They can’t merely meet at someone’s house, Brosman said. Even to sell the building, they had to get the blessing of the Grand Lodge of Colorado.Brosman said the Masons had hoped to build a new lodge on a parcel of Valley Brook Cemetery land they own, but restrictions on how the land can be used prevented that. Gagen said the town might have been able to help the Masons remove those restrictions, but those discussions were part of the town’s proposal that fell apart because they were tied to the purchase of building.
The Freemasons established the Breckenridge Lodge No. 47 Sept. 20, 1882, Brosman said. At the time, it served the needs of the miners and acted much like a union.Today, only 20 percent of its members are in their 20s and 30s – the chapter lost three to death this year alone – and instead of serving as a union for miners, the Freemasons conduct charity work and look after their own. Some chapters, notably those on the East Coast where the organization was founded, have homes into which elderly members can move.Nearby lodges are in Georgetown, Leadville and Fairplay, yet members travel from as far as Loveland to attend meetings at the Breckenridge temple.The Freemasons of America contribute more than $2 million a day to charitable causes they have established. Locally, that includes college scholarships for high school seniors. Members must be men over the age of 18 who believe in a supreme being of any sort and who are of good moral character.The philosophy is to “make good men better.”Nowakiwsky said that while interested buyers are shelling out money to determine what needs to be done to the building, it still could be a while before it sells.”They would make the contract contingent on their approvals getting through,” he said. “But if someone comes along and can get through those contingencies, it could take three or four months.”
Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228, or email@example.com.
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