Masonic Temple In Detroit In Foreclosure: Historic Landmark Has $152,000 Unpaid Tax Bill (UPDATE)

04/25/2013 11:52 am ET | Updated Apr 26, 2013
Flickr: Matt Callow

UPDATE: 5:55 p.m. -- The Detroit News reports that the Masonic Temple Association entered into a deal with the Wayne County Treasurer's Office to settle the bill. According to the News, the Masonic Temple paid $10,000 and promises to pay off the balance by June 3 to get out of tax foreclosure.


Foreclosure doesn't just affect individual homeowners. The Masonic Temple, a 14-story historic landmark in Detroit, is facing tax problems of its own.

Wayne County took possession of the Temple, the Detroit News reports, following a prescribed waiting period after owners defaulted on 2010 taxes. Scheduled events, like a highly-anticipated, sold-out concert from musician Rodriguez, will go on as planned.

The building, which takes up an entire block of Temple Street in Detroit's Cass Corridor neighborhood, is home to theaters, a barber shop, ballrooms, offices and bowling lanes. It's also hailed as the largest Masonic temple in the world, according to the Detroit Historical Museum.

This isn't the first time grappling with financial troubles. Last year, owners received a shut-off notice from DTE Energy before working out a payment plan with the utility company.

Now, the Masonic Temple could join thousands of others buildings in the Wayne County foreclosed property auction in September, though first, municipal governments and the state will have a chance to purchase it, according to the News.

According to CBS Detroit, the owners have a $152,000 tax bill. Bidding for the building in the tax auction would start at $160,000.

If the building's status doesn't change before auction and it does not sell in the first round, it would have its back taxes cleared and be up for sale for a starting bid of $500.

According to a group that monitors foreclosures in Detroit, owners have up until the auction begins to redeem their properties. See their Why Don't We Own This? site for a map of the more than 22,000 properties currently headed to the foreclosure auction.

George Mason and Company broke ground on the building, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980, in 1920. Two years later, they held a ceremony to lay the cornerstone with a trowel used by George Washington for the U.S. Capitol construction, according to the Masonic Temple website.

The building is full of history. Inside, the architects incorporated the designs of prolific Detroit sculptor Corrado Parducci, based off the interior of a Sicilian castle. See the Masonic Temple's website for a panoramic view of the magnificent lobby, and below, see more of Parducci's influence around Detroit.

'Corrado Parducci: The Man Who Made Detroit Beautiful'

Flickr photo by Matt Callow.

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