Historic Long Beach Building to be Reborn as Events Venue

Built in 1903, the Masonic Temple building at 230 Pine Ave. in downtown Long Beach has sat vacant since Z Gallerie closed in 2010. It is expected to reopen in March as The Loft on Pine, offering space for events such as bar mitzvahs, corporate parties and weddings. 

LONG BEACH >> The new owners of the former Masonic Temple at 230 Pine Ave. expect to open an events venue in March called The Loft on Pine.

Escrow on the building closed Thursday, said co-owner Kurt Schneiter of Maverick Investments. Schneiter declined to disclose the purchase price, but he and facility director Mary Lallande said renovations of the 1903 edifice will top $1 million.

“I look at older buildings, when they’ve got architectural excellence like this building does, as the heart and soul of the city,” Schneiter said.

The site is the oldest standing building downtown, according to the city. Its architect, Henry Starbuck, designed many structures that went up around the turn of the 20th century.

The former Masonic Temple site has been vacant since Z Gallerie closed in 2010. The opening of a new events venue would follow such other recent Pine Avenue developments as the opening of the nearby Federal Bar last summer and Hamburger Mary’s December move from East Village to the downtown street. Additionally, Cohn Restaurant Group has declared plans to expand its French bistro-influenced Bo-beau concept to Pine Avenue in the early part of this year.

Schneiter and Lallande said the venue could be hired to host weddings, bar mitzvahs or corporate events.

“Right now, most of our inquiries are weddings,” Lallande said.

Besides Schneiter, the key players in the renovation of the former Masonic Temple include co-owner Scott Hamilton of DOMA Properties, project manager Jan Van Dijs, principal architect Jonathan Glasgow and general contractor Jason Stewart. In various combinations, they have been involved with such restoration projects as the Walker Building, the Art Theater, the Fingerprints/Berlin complex, the Psychic Temple, the Arts Building, the Temple Lofts and several residences in the Bluff Park and Rose Park areas.

Although The Loft on Pine has yet to formally open, the venue has hosted its first wedding. That event took place on Dec. 21, Lallande said.

Since work began about eight months ago, the owners have put more than $1 million into the restoration and structural reinforcement to the building whose 7,100-square-foot main hall was where lodge meetings were held more than a century ago.

When it opens sometime in early 2014, it will be the first time the temple’s great hall will be used for events since the Masons left the building in 1951.

Original article can be found at www.presstelegram.com

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