Two business partners who moved into the old North Hill Masonic Temple a year ago have repurposed the building for real estate sales, but also have plans to remodel the structure to house a coffee shop or small restaurant.
The owners are hoping that the longtime Masonic landmark at 706 W. Garland Ave. can become an important component of urban revival in the classic small business district on the North Hill.
The repurposed lodge is part of a wider plan that may bring a $3.5 million investment into a new mixed-use commercial and residential development along Wall Street immediately north of the lodge.
“It’s going to be a good thing for the community,” said Keith Riddle, managing owner of Synergy Properties.
He and his business partner, Paul Cassel, purchased the lodge more than a year ago from the the North Hill Lodge 210 Temple Corp. The two 1998 Mead High School graduates have been friends since middle school.
Public records show that their Greater Northwest Assets LLC paid $560,000 for the 1921 lodge and four residential parcels along Wall Street directly north of the lodge in August 2013. One of the residential lots is used for parking.
In a little more than a year, they have renovated the interior of the building to house up to 18 real estate agents.
A future plan would open the southwest side of the building for a small restaurant on the lower level that would be served by an existing commercial kitchen that was part of the lodge.
Riddle said that remodeling plan involves putting a new door for access to the restaurant space, which would be designed to match the original exterior of the two-story brick lodge. That work could start next spring.
Riddle and Cassel see potential for business growth as the Garland Business District works to update its appeal.
“It’s kind of our plan to get with it over here,” Cassel said of the Garland area.
That’s why he is looking at a mixed-use project along Wall Street that would include a gastropub or restaurant and another commercial space on the ground floor.
Above that would be two stories with 22 condo-grade apartment rentals.
“This is all real preliminary,” Riddle said.
The project, totaling 43,000 square feet, would include a lobby entrance, internal courtyard for residents, parking and landscaping.
Julie Shepard-Hall, a board member for the Garland Business District organization, said Synergy Properties is a positive addition to the neighborhood.
She said that newer-style cafes, coffee houses and pubs will help Garland update its image and appeal.
The business organization and North Hill Neighborhood Council are working on a 20-year plan for the area.
“Part of the 20-year plan is we need to revive Garland,” she said.
The neighborhood council has scheduled a working meeting on the planning effort for Dec. 11 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Willard Elementary School, she said.
The Masonic lodge is one of the original buildings in the business district.
As Spokane expanded northward more than a century ago, members of the masons started planning for a new lodge as early as 1910. In 1915, the Grand Lodge of Washington approved the plan.