If You've Ever Wanted a Masonic Temple ...

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As mentioned last week, the Dallas City Council's Economic Development Committee is scheduled to discuss this morning offering $50,000 in historic tax incentives to three buildings, one of which is the Masonic Temple at 507 S. Harwood Street. Shortly after posting that tidbit, a Friend of Unfair Park shot me the note that, well, the Masonic Temple's actually on the market -- again. Because, if you recall, in April 2006 the Masonic Temple Corp. put the building on the market for $3.6 million, only to withdraw it within the last year after coming close with two prospective buyers who offered half the asking price. (There had been interest from at least one party who considered turning the building into a church.)

Attorney Elmer Murphey, former Grand Master of Masons in Texas and still their spokesman, couldn't be reached for comment today. Sources familiar with the deal say that, yes, the Masons have once more voted to sell the building, but that it's not yet gone to market -- though it could rather quickly. The Masons have decided to sell simply because they no longer want to to pay property taxes on a building currently on the tax rolls for more than $1 million. The question is: What can a buyer do with the building? After all, it's made of solid limestone and steel, and the walls -- every single one of which is load-bearing -- are some 14 inches thick. A jail, maybe? Or a bomb shelter. How about ... discotheque!

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