It was a sad day in May (2013) when the Eastern Star Hall Association officially closed its doors at 2719 K Street (Midtown Sacramento) for the very last time. Following a series of organizational challenges, the building was put up for sale and later acquired by a local Mason, who had visions of leasing the +/- 31,500 square foot iconic structure for commercial purposes. Even with the new landlord’s depth of commercial real estate knowledge and experience, it proved difficult to attract a tenant who would lease the entire building.
Click here for related story by the Sacramento Business Journal.
Last Summer, the owner employed a Sacramento commercial real estate broker (JACKS Commercial) to stir up the pot and create more interest in the building. Subsequently, the Sacramento Business Journal posted an article in July 2014 announcing the 86-year-old midtown Sacramento building was “available for lease for the first time in its history, with its size and scale lending itself to a number of possibilities at the same time.” However, not even Nor Cal Spirit Walkers could conjure up an entity with interest in occupying the former Masonic temple. Good Day Sacramento came out to participate in a ghost hunt last January and ran this news clip.
According to Wikipedia, “Sacramento’s Eastern Star Hall was built in 1928 as a meeting hall for the Order of the Eastern Star, a Masonic women’s organization. It is one of only four buildings constructed for the Eastern Star organization, and the only one still surviving to this day. The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a fine example of Romanesque Revival architecture, and a rare example of local buildings devoted to a women’s organization. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Coffman, Salsbury & Stafford in the Romanesque Revival style. An architect’s drawing of the building includes five people in front of the building, all women. The women in the sketch were dressed in contemporary 1920s fashions, with bobbed hair and knee-length skirts, and one behind the wheel of an automobile. This sketch provides insight into the changing role of women in the 1920s, and reflects the intended purpose of the building as the home of a women’s organization. The building was completed in 1928, and used for both public and private functions.”
My how times have changed. “Luxuries” such as ADA access, elevators, accessible restrooms and onsite parking have become such important elements of contemporary commercial enterprise that historic buildings often become unloved and unused for their original purpose intended. Finding a tenant to take over the entire Eastern Star Hall, even with landlord provided tenant improvement financing, was like finding a needle in a haystack. The landlord realized the highest and best use for this historic building may be for an owner/operator to utilize the facility as a multiple venue events center. So many possible uses have surfaced over the past year, including performing arts, athletic club, restaurant, night club, religious organizations, high-end office… even multifamily housing. As such, the most likely way to accommodate a re-use of the historic building may be to make it available for an owner/user. One of the most exciting potential re-uses, for at least a portion of the building, could be a historic visitor’s center in connection with Sutter’s Fort, located directly across the street. Tour buses from around the State line K Street every week with children and parents descending on Midtown in droves to explore Sutter’s Fort, the Indian Museum and potentially the Eastern Star Hall Museum.
Given the stunning success of Auction.com’s May 2015 sale of the historic Senator Hotel for almost $31,800,000 ($200 per square foot), it seemed like an opportune time to utilize the same approach for sale of the Eastern Star Hall. The Senator Hotel is located at 1121 L Street, just over one mile west of the Eastern Star Hall. Much like how the Senator Hotel is positioned directly across from the State Capitol Building, the Eastern Star is positioned directly across from historic Sutter’s Fort, which was a capitol building of its own kind back in the day.
Whether this year or next… or even further down the road, the Eastern Star Hall will once again reclaim its glory and prominent place in history.
Brian Jacks | Principal Broker | (916) 837-3456
Brian@JacksCRE.com | BRE Broker Lic. #01217349