Thursday, August 23, 2012

Detroit Masonic Temple In Trouble Again

The Detroit Masonic Temple is up against the wall again, financially. According to an article in the Detroit Free Press, the world's largest Masonic temple is in danger of having its electricity turned off this weekend.

A shutoff notice is taped to the front door of the historic building for failure to pay its bills. The DTE Energy posting says electric and natural-gas service will be disconnected on or after Sunday unless the account is made current.

“We’re not not paying bills. It’s trying to be timely with the bills,” said Jimmy Romeo, the Masonic’s director of events. “The bill will be paid in the allotted time.”

He said that the private event, which is next on the Masonic calendar, will go on as scheduled tonight.

It takes $3,000 a day to run the Masonic, he added.

According to Romeo, the Detroit Masonic Theater Company who runs the entertainment venue for the Masons inherited the outstanding bills when it took over management of the landmark.

Olympia Entertainment oversaw the Masonic until 2010.

A representative for the Ilitch-owned firm would not comment but said the company would release a statement today.

DTE Energy said in a written statement that the Masonic Temple has “accrued a substantial unpaid balance and attempts to reach a workable payment arrangement with the facility’s management have been unsuccessful … Facility management has not complied with a recent agreement for partial payment that would prevent shutoff. We continue to talk with the management team.”

The utility also acknowledged the important role the theater plays in Detroit and the surrounding region.

“We recognize the iconic status that the Masonic Temple holds in the community and we regret that a shutoff may be necessary, but in fairness to all of our customers we cannot continue to provide utility services without payment.”

Standing near the nearly-vacant entrance to the theater, Romeo listed some of the famous acts who’ve performed at the masonic over the years, including Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who and the Rolling Stones.

The Masonic Temple has two major theaters seating 4,300 and 1,500 respectively and ballrooms for up to 1,000 people.

5 comments:

Luke says Moo! said...

Yet another reason why we shouldn't build things without endowments. If you don't make a way to pay for repairs & upkeep in the future then whatever you build will eventually rot away. (Plenty of castles & cathedrals across the world to attest to this.)
The biggest sadness is that in the 80's & 90's (few) no one did anything to fix it and the numbers show that problems didn't just appear in the last 5 years. Where was the drive to get that generation involved?
Not that complaining about the actions of the past will fix anything, but at some point we have to face the fact that albatrosses have been put around our collective neck with no escape but to destroy something beautiful.

E C Ballard ஃ said...

Small is the new big. I love the frand architecture of the past, and it would be a terrible loss for any of the great buildings to shut down, but what are the real odds that such events can be avoided? Is the institutional craft prepared to make the kinds of changes necessary to build a membership that could support such structures going forward, if that is possible? Of course whether such a membership increase is realistic at this time, and if achieving that sort of growth, whether such a newly enlarged membership would find such financial commitment either possible or desirable are two separate issues entirely.

As much as I find the possibility undesirable, I suspect that we will find the decision to shut down and abandon such buildings becoming as inevitable as it has heretofore been unthinkable.

God, I hate being pragmatic.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

Do they have a donation website? If not, why not?

Anthony Mongelli, Jr. said...

Yes, Fuzzy...why don't they have a website to solicit donations? I surely would reach into my pocket! I will be contacting them to inquire. On another note, does anybody have any updates on the situation?

Anthony Mongelli, Jr. said...

I will make Brethren in my district aware!

Bro. Anthony Mongelli, Jr.

http://www.theblazingstart.blogspot.com