Brooklyn Masonic Hall gets new lease on life

Residential and commercial leasing is underway for the new Lofts On Pearl which is the old Brooklyn Masonic Temple in Cleveland’s Brooklyn Centre neighborhood. Lakewood-based developer Kostas Almiroudis is moving his offices onto the ground floor at left to focus on further redevelopment of the area (KJP). CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM.

Historic rehab is first phase for Pearl Road

A Masonic rehabilitation has a different meaning in Cleveland’s Brooklyn Centre neighborhood these days. At 3804 Pearl Rd., it means the renovation and repurposing of a 25,536-square-foot Brooklyn Masonic Temple into 26 market-rate apartments over two ground-floor commercial spaces bracketing the building’s terrazzo-, marble- and wood-laden lobby.

Following a $5.2 million renovation, Lakewood-based developer Kostas Almiroudis said leasing is underway for the building which had been vacant for nearly 20 years. The rear, brick portion of the building was an auditorium constructed in 1898 and the masonry part facing Pearl was added onto in 1926, building records show. A Web site for the property has gone live and can be visited at

Almiroudis feels so strongly about this project and future redevelopment phases to the north and west of the Lofts On Pearl that he’s moving the offices for his parent company ALMiCO Group to one of the two 930-square-foot Pearl-facing commercial spaces. The other space could become a coffee shop or similar business, he said.

Kostas Almiroudis stands in the renovated front lobby of the Lofts On Pearl, amid restored cabinets, terrazzo floors, marble stairs and fresh paint and plaster. To his right will be his company’s new offices and to his left will be a new tenant, possibly a coffee shop (KJP).

From his new offices, he can devote more attention to redeveloping his follow-on project, the Flats On Pearl. That’s a proposed mix of new construction and a renovation of the historic building at the corner of Pearl and Garden Avenue. Dilapidated homes behind them are proposed to be demolished for new townhomes.

The former Masonic building has character, from the lobby and its retained wooden cabinetry to the patches of exposed brick and long steel beams in the common areas as well as in some of the apartments. Those visible features are there to remind residents and visitors of what the building was, Almiroudis said.

He noted that some of the features also remind that the building was in poor condition. The steel beams are there to keep the brick outer walls from splaying outward as much as they exist to hold up the roof. Wood flooring in the front part of the building was not taken care of. It had to be removed and replaced with new flooring. And there was a full-grown tree that had been growing for 20-30 years inside the rear portion of the building.

Every apartment in the Lofts On Pearl is unique. This is one four loft apartments, as seen from the loft. This was once part of an auditorium that was vacant for so long that a mature tree grew where this apartment is now located (KJP).

Today, the building’s idiosyncrasies are celebrated in the design of individual apartments and other spaces. Few apartments are identical. Four of the apartments have lofts. Some have closets that are large enough they could instead be used as an office. A few units have bathrooms with original tiles. But all units have Samsung appliances. It’s about the only consistency in the building.

“Because of the little nooks and crannies of the building and the structure itself, every single apartment has a uniqueness,” Almiroudis said during a recent tour of the building. “Some units are smaller, higher or longer. We tried to take advantage of it and showcase it instead of just boxing it out and have it be square and diminishing the size.”

The apartments range in size from two 413-square-foot studios to a 948-square-foot two-bedroom suite. Rents for the remaining one-bedroom units are $1,300 and two-bedroom suites going for $2,000. The apartments extend into the former Masonic auditorium space, a three-floor-tall structure that offers higher ceilings and lofts than the front part of the building which is also three stories. Making the building come back to life has been a mixed-bag of experiences.

In recent weeks, the basement floor of the former Masonic temple was still being levels for the fitness center to come. In the background at left will be storage lockers for residents (KJP).

“It’s been, to say the least, a labor of love and pain and a whole bunch of other stuff,” Almiroudis added. “Just to get a sprinkler system from the basement into every one of these apartments was a task.”

Other updates required compromise. For example, a new telescoping-cylinder hydraulic elevator, which replaced a motor/pulley-driven system that didn’t always ensure a level car and a smooth ride, couldn’t drop into the basement because the solid foundation at the bottom of the elevator shaft couldn’t be excavated.

So, for people wanting to visit the basement fitness center, they will get one last brief workout as they climb the stairs to the ground floor to reach their apartment or the elevator. Finishing touches are still being done on the building. In recent weeks, one of the last big projects was in the basement fitness center. Its concrete floor had to be leveled by pouring gravel and new cement on top of it.

What the Lofts On Pearl looked like just two years ago, before its renovation. The former Masonic temple was vandalized and darkened with years of accumulated grime and pollution (Brandt).

The building also has two lobbies, a courtyard and a secondary stairwell and building access off Garden Avenue. The latter is the most direct way to reach the Lofts On Pearl’s 33-space parking lot, located across Garden. A 122-year-old house was demolished to provide vehicle and pedestrian access to the lot from Garden.

Fortunately, Almiroudis is required to provide only 33 parking spaces. Had the Pearl Road corridor not been rezoned with an urban form overlay, he would have had to provide 43 spaces which might have required demolishing a couple of single-level storefronts at 3784 Pearl. However, he said he plans to do that anyway in the long term for his planned Flats On Pearl development.

Cuyahoga County property records show Almiroudis acquired the former Brooklyn Masonic Temple in 2021 for $200,000. At the same time, he bought the parking lot property across Garden which includes the Pearl storefronts for $150,000. He said he is near to taking title to the corner brick building at 2604 Garden and the two houses behind it. He will keep and restore the brick building with apartments but wants to demolish the “unsalvageable” houses for new townhomes.


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