Local attorney Bob Butler bought the former Masonic Lodge in Vale in September. (The Enterprise/PAT CALDWELL)
VALE – Bob Butler said he never intended to buy the former Masonic Lodge building.
Butler said he just wanted to poke his head into the auction event held on Sept. 29.
“I went over and looked at the building so I had an idea of its condition,” said Butler, a managing partner in the local law firm Butler & Looney PC.
During the auction, Butler said he was struck by the low bids for the building.
“They started the bidding at $25,000. I thought it was crazy. I thought the Masons Lodge is entitled to more money than that,” said Butler.
So, Butler began to bid too.
“In my own mind, I figured I’d get it up to $70,000 and I’d quit,” said Butler.
His plan, though, backfired.
“When I bid $70,000 no one bid against me. That’s what happens when you go to an auction and bid,” Butler said with a chuckle.
Butler said he isn’t sure what he will do with the 70-year-old building.
“I have a couple of contractors looking at it to give me some suggestions,” he said.
Now, he said there are only two options for the building at 170 Main S. – commercial or residential use.
Both ideas appeal to Butler.
“It is a fairly sturdy property. I’ve sat and thought, what do we need in Vale? Is there an urgent need for offices? Another salon location? What could we do with it? I really don’t know what I am going to do with it,” said Butler.
Butler said “if push comes to shove” he will use the building for storage for the short-term.
“The tendency at this point is it would become a residential apartment. It has a kitchen and two bathrooms. We can remodel and extend the kitchen and make it nicer,” he said.
The Masons have been a fixture in Vale for more than 100 years but dwindling numbers hindered the lodge. Last spring the remaining active Vale Masons voted to sell the building.
Gary Dentinger, former grand master at the lodge, said recently the Masons are unsure what they will do with the proceeds from the sale.
Butler said the building, at more than 2,000 square feet – would be a “nice and comfortable” apartment.
“It would be a big apartment and reasonably quiet,” said Butler.
News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]
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