July 25, 2016

Partly cloudy

Medina’s Masonic Lodge offer is off table

MEDINA — An apparent misunderstanding may have put an end to a possible deal between the city of Medina and the Masonic Lodge.

On Monday, City Council voted to repeal a $250,000 offer to buy the Masonic property adjacent to City Hall.

Council President John Coyne said the city has been in negotiations with MC Real Estate as a representative of the Masons for the past year.

“All of the Council members gave their opinions. It was unanimous with all of them they thought it was a done deal,” Coyne said.

But Tim Forte, president of the Temple Co., which is the legal name for the Masonic lodge, said the lodge’s leadership never formally authorized anyone to broker a deal.

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.

The Masons responded with a counteroffer Friday — an offer that Coyne said was too high given the amount of work that would need to be done to the building. Because the counteroffer was presented in executive session, the amount has not yet been made public.

The 23,000-square-foot building and land are valued at $368,470, according to the county auditor.

Coyne said a more realistic appraisal of the property would be in the high $190,000s.

“We’re not going up in price,” he said. “We’ve been through negotiations once and came up with a final offer.”

During Tuesday’s Finance Committee meeting prior to Council’s vote to repeal the offer, Forte and fellow Temple representative Matt Strehle were in attendance to speak about the supposed deal and resulting counteroffer.

Strehle said that MC Real Estate has not represented the Masons since 2012 and was therefore not authorized to act as their broker. A new lawyer, Mark Abood from Brunswick, has been retained to handle any further negotiations.

Both Forte and Strehle said the group is still very interested in working with the city on a deal.

“I feel like we’re on the same page now,” said Forte after the Finance Committee meeting.

“They were receptive to what we had to say,” Strehle added.

Coyne and Council member Paul Rose, at large, were uncertain about the future of what they see as more negotiations on what they are calling the city’s final offer.

“I’m disappointed with the way they are acting,” Rose said. “I’m not sure if we are still interested in pursuing a deal.”

Since the previously offered contract has been repealed, Council would need to reconsider passing another ordinance to authorize the purchase of the property.

“We have to meet again and determine our level of interest,” Coyne said. “I don’t know if there is a lot of room to move from what we already offered them.”

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