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Mall developer purchases former Masonic Temple

Talk about pulling a 180.

Privately held real estate developer Caruso Affiliated on Tuesday said that it has agreed to purchase a former Masonic Temple in the city of Glendale, California.

It will transform the vacant building, as well as two adjacent buildings and an adjoining lot, into offices, retail and restaurant space.

The company declined to disclose how much it paid for the site.

Masonic Temple, Glendale, California
Source: Omar Bárcena | Flickr

"We are glad to extend our presence in Glendale through a project that truly offers a prime example of adaptive reuse," said Rick J. Caruso, founder and CEO of Caruso Affiliated. "This is a local architectural gem."

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The temple, a nine-story tower that was designed in 1927, has housed at least six Masonic organizations since its completion. It sits across the street from another Caruso property, The Americana at Brand.

That mall, which includes stores such as Nordstrom, J.Crew and Lululemon, is one of the top 15 shopping centers in the U.S. for sales per square foot.

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The redevelopment is the latest example of how struggling properties across the country are being reimagined into new uses. Weak retail properties around the U.S. have been transformed into medical centers and churches, while some churches are being repurposed into shopping space.

One example is Limelight Shops in Manhattan, a former church.

The Glendale property provides Caruso with 68,000 square feet of gross building area on 38,000 square feet of land.

A source said the deal is expected to close before the end of the year.