Redevelopment plans for the historic Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center in downtown Milwaukee would seek to serve downtown residents who desire larger dwelling units, according to plans filed with the city.
The Masonic Center, located at 790 N. Van Buren St., would contain 22-25 residential units. The units would have either two or three bedrooms, and range between 1,500-2,500 square feet.
An affiliate of Madison-based Ascendant Holdings LLC owns the building. Milwaukee-based Ramlow/Stein Inc. is the project designer.
"The proposed apartment conversion will preserve the Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center as an historic asset for the surrounding neighborhood in the scale of the surrounding residential buildings to the north and east of Van Buren and Wells streets," the project team states in project documents. "Reinforcement of this as a residential neighborhood will benefit all residents."
The latest version to Ascendant's plans for the Masonic Center were revealed earlier this week, after the project team applied for building permits. Additional documents filed with the Board of Zoning Appeals and Historic Preservation Commission contained the additional details.
Ascendant previously pursued a hotel project there, which would have added stories on top of the three-floor building.
The project team is requesting a use variance from BOZA in order to use the building for multi-family residential purposes.
It also plans to remove 20 stained glass windows from the building. As the Masonic Center is a historic structure, their removal will need HPC approval. Project drawings show they will be replaced with new windows, and that more windows would be added at new openings on the building.
Project floor plans show 11 single-floor units and 11 units that span two floors. The existing theater space would be replaced by some of the residential units.
On-site parking would be provided in the basement. Access to the basement parking will be from the existing eastern alley.
Scott Ramlow, president of Ramlow/Stein, referred questions about the project to Ascendant.
Eric Nordeen, principal of Ascendant, declined to comment.
The 165,400-square-foot former Masonic Center was built in 1889. Ascendant purchased it in 2017 for $3.5 million.