December 21, 2014

Medina
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City of Medina may abandon effort to buy Masonic Temple

An unexpectedly high counter offer has Medina officials reconsidering their offer to buy the Masonic Temple. On the agenda for tonight’s Finance Committee and regular Council meetings is an ordinance that would withdraw the city’s offer.

At Council’s Nov. 25 meeting, the mayor was authorized to pay up to $250,000 for the Masonic property at 120 N. Elmwood St., adjacent to City Hall.

The Masons formally responded with a counter offer Friday.

Medina's Masonic Temple, 120 N. Elmwood Ave., was built in 1924. The building, along with the attached theater, 139 W. Liberty St., was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. DAVID KNOX / GAZETTE

Medina’s Masonic Temple, 120 N. Elmwood Ave., was built in 1924. The building, along with the attached theater, 139 W. Liberty St., was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY DAVID KNOX)

Council President John Coyne said the counter offer was considerably higher than the city’s offering price.

The building and land are valued at $368,470, according to the county auditor.

Coyne said the city had been in negotiations for about a year with MC Real Estate, the broker representing the Masons.

“We assumed the Masonic Temple had authorized the agreement,” Coyne said. “We thought we had a done deal.”

But after a tentative agreement was reached, the Masonic leadership changed, Coyne said, which he speculated prompted the counteroffer.

“It’s a totally different deal than what we approved,” he said. “We’re going to repeal that offer. We’re going to regroup and determine how we would like to proceed.

“We’re disappointed as a city that we had a deal and now we don’t.”

A spokesman for the Masonic Temple declined comment.

For the past few years, Council has been considering the purchase of additional property during executive session discussions.

During a bond refinancing in 2011, Council agreed to earmark up to $3 million for such a possible purchase.

City officials toured the Masonic building in 2011, along with the former Pythian Sisters property on Huntington Street.

The Masonic Temple building contains a total of 23,200 square feet and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, along with the attached theater.

The original 1924 building includes a basement and four floors in the western part and a basement and two stories in the east. In 1937, the single-floor movie theater, lobby and corridor were added to connect to Liberty Street. The Medina Community Theater, which opened in 2011, is housed in the addition.

An elevator was added to the southwest corner of the temple section in 1966 for service up to the third floor, which is where the Masonic lodge room is located.

Contact reporter Pamela J. Miller at (330) 721-4065 or areanews@medina-gazette.com.