A vacant former Masonic lodge in Kenmore would be redeveloped into seven “distinguished loft spaces” under plans before village officials.
The two-story brick building at 173 Delaware Road, next door to the former Kenmore Middle School, was built in the 1920s and used for assemblies, said Brian J. Kulpa, senior associate at architecture and engineering firm Clark Patterson Lee.
The space – more than 12,000 square feet – includes assembly areas on the upper and lower floors with stages and vaulted ceilings 16 feet high on the upper floor, he said.
It was vacated about 12 years ago and the basement flooded, but it was purchased late last year for $175,000 by Gregory J. Rodems of Orchard Park’s Rodems Construction under the name Delaware Lodge LLC.
“His goal with those units is to preserve the internal integrity of the building, take advantage of the big, high vaulted ceilings,” Kulpa said. “It’s going to be a fairly unique space.”
The building is full of intricate cornices, plasterwork and hardwood. It’s not registered as a historic place, but is being treated like one by balancing preservation with change of use, Kulpa said.
“We know we can’t preserve it as two auditorium spaces, but we’re going to try to retain as much of the character as we can,” he said.
Rodems’ plans call for seven loft units – four one-bedroom apartments in the front and three two-bedroom apartments at the rear. Each two-bedroom apartment would measure 1,500 square feet.
The lower-floor apartments will incorporate the existing stage to create a two-tiered apartment.
“The apartments should be striking to walk into,” Kulpa said. “There’s a big, grand staircase when you first walk into the building.”
The exterior would be unchanged, except for a glass-enclosed stair tower for second-floor residents. “It’s been a fixture at that location for years,” Kulpa said.
The Planning Board on Tuesday recommended approval of the project to the village board of trustees, which is expected to hold a hearing on it Tuesday.
With necessary approvals, construction could begin in late fall or early winter, Kulpa said.
The building is in an area zoned residential and has limited parking.
“It’s a good reuse,” Kulpa said. “I don’t know as an architect I could picture the building being used for anything else right now.”