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$8.4M price tag on hulking Santa Fe landmark 'Scottish' Rite Center

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Santa Fe New Mexican

$8.4M price tag on hulking Santa Fe landmark

Posted: Wednesday, April 10, 2013

By Julie Ann Grimm

The New Mexican | 4 comments

Sante Fe Scottish Rite, Freemasons, Freemasonry

The Scottish Rite Center on Paseo de Peralta, on the market for $8.4 million, is among several notable buildings for sale in the downtown Santa Fe area. New Mexican file photo
The Scottish Rite Masonic Center in downtown Santa Fe is on the market for $8.4 million.

Officials with the Masonic organization said early last month that they were considering selling the landmark building, but the property wasn’t officially listed for sale until March 15.

The pink building at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Washington Avenue — sometimes dubbed by locals as “the Pepto-Bismol building” — is a hulking edifice with a footprint of nearly 45,000 square feet. It was erected in 1912, and some features of its Moorish architectural style were patterned on the Alhambra, a palace and fortress in Granada, Spain.

Broker Maureen Mestas of Sotheby’s International Realty said in an interview Wednesday that she’s shown the property to just under a dozen potential buyers, including local groups and organizations from other states and even Canada. Interested parties have included a charitable foundation looking for a performance and education space; a mixed-use developer; and firms in the hospitality industry.

The building, listed on both the state and national registers of cultural properties, is also protected in the city’s Historic Design Review District as a “significant” structure. Architectural historian Chris Wilson wrote in 1987 that it was considered a “major work” of architects Sumner Hunt and S.R. Burns. The pair subsequently incorporated similar Spanish-Moorish features into the Southwest Museum they designed in Los Angeles.

In addition to Scottish Rite Center’s theater, with its hand-painted backdrops and an antique wood pulley system, the building also includes an enclosed courtyard, large commercial kitchen and several dormitories. Stained-glass windows, red roof tiles, and horseshoe and keyhole arches accent the poured-concrete building. Although the Masons give tours and rent the facility for various meetings and performances, it still carries an air of mystery.

“The Scottish Rite temple has been impeccably maintained by the foundation,” Mestas said. “It’s always a pleasure to introduce buyers to the property. When they walk in, they really have an experience. … I’ve been driving by it since I was a little kid, and always looking at it and wondering what was in there.”

Just a few lots away from the Scottish Rite building, Presbyterian Church USA is still trying to sell the former Ghost Ranch Santa Fe conference center to free up resources for its ranch near Abiquiú. The property was listed with Sotheby’s, but now Ghost Ranch Director Debra Hepler is trying to sell it directly. Another notable property for sale north of the downtown area is the defunct St. Catherine Indian School, an 8-acre campus that includes one of the largest, oldest hand-formed adobe buildings in the state. The New Mexican’s building at 202 E. Marcy Street also is for sale.

Contact Julie Ann Grimm at 986-3017 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @julieanngrimm.

Further Reading

The 'Scottish' Rite of Freemasonry - 33 Degree's of Familiarization