Bushwick Nostalgia: The Ridgewood Masonic Temple’s buyer intends to turn the landmark into an apartment building

Eye On Real Estate

April 1, 2015 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The purchaser of the Ridgewood Masonic Temple wants to turn it into an apartment building. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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Under the radar.

Did you realize that a residential developer bought the landmarked Masons’ lodge in Bushwick for $2 million? We didn’t.

And guess what? The purchasers of the Ridgewood Masonic Temple at 1054 Bushwick Ave. have filed plans with the city Buildings Department that call for the construction of an additional floor on the top of the iconic structure.

It’s the only Beaux-Arts building on Bushwick Avenue, according to architectural history expert Suzanne Spellen, who writes for Brownstoner.com under the pen name Montrose Morris.

For a while, after the Masons’ Ridgewood Lodge disbanded and joined the Astoria Lodge, the building was rented out as a venue for parties and musical performances.

So. Here are more details about what’s cooking: Lodges and Chapters of the Second District Inc. — aka the Masons — sold the building last September to 1054 Bushwick LLC for $2 million, city Finance Department records indicate. A zoning lot description in the records identifies Yoel Wertzberger as a managing member of the purchasing LLC.

The Masons’ building had been up for sale in 2010 for a $1 million asking price.

In January, Wertzberger filed a plan with the Buildings Department proposing a horizontal and vertical enlargement of the building to create 28 apartments and turn the existing three-story “public assembly building,” which has a cellar and mezzanine, into a four-story residential building with a cellar and penthouse.

The estimated cost of the work is $1.25 million and the architect of record is Nataliya Donskoy of ND Architecture and Design, the filing indicates.

The project requires the approval of the city Landmarks Preservation Commission, which voted unanimously last July to make the Ridgewood Masonic Temple a landmark.

The preservation agency’s designation report about the Free and Accepted Masons’ Ridgewood Lodge No. 710 calls it “an excellent example of early 20th-Century neighborhood club architecture, as well as one of Bushwick’s most prominent civic buildings.”  

The buff-colored brick and rusticated stone building, which has distinctive two-story arched windows and Ionic columns flanking its front door, was built in 1919 to 1920, the report notes.


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