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Sunday, November 24, 2019

New York Masons Buy 15 Acre College Campus


The Grand Lodge F&AM of New York's Trustees of the Masonic Hall and Asylum Fund are the proud new owners of the 15.6 acre campus of the now former College of New Rochelle. The Catholic college was forced to close last year and liquidate its property after declaring bankruptcy with more than $31.2 million in debts and unpaid payroll taxes.


According to press reports over the weekend, the Masonic Trustees' $32 million bid beat out two others for the property after eight rounds of bidding over two days last week.

Press speculation is that they purchased the college campus to create a new retirement community and nursing facility, as that is their primary mission in Utica. However, the Trustees have not yet made a public announcement concerning their plans for New Rochelle. 
In addition to being the owners of the Grand Lodge's W. 23rd Street New York City headquarters, the Trustees operate the Masonic Care Community in Utica, along with Camp Turk, and the DeWint House, George Washington's Headquarters and historic site in Tappan. 

The campus sits about 16 miles north of Manhattan in suburban Westchester County. If the trustees really are planning a new Masonic retirement community, the location would certainly be ideal for their members concentrated in New York City. Moreover, there are already many facilities already constructed and up to date that could easily be adapted for that use. 


A map of the CNR campus illustrates what the
Grand Lodge of New York Trustees just bought
If ever an ideal property existed for conversion to a retirement center, this sounds like it. According to the Wikipedia entry about the campus facilities, there are 20 main buildings including a recently built $28M athletic and recreational complex. 


The Wellness Center



'The Wellness Center' is equipped with a competition-sized swimming pool, basketball court, fitness center, indoor running track, yoga studio, roof garden and meditation garden, and volleyball court. 

The Gill Memorial Library at New Rochelle College - might this be the
future home of the Chancellor Robert R Livingston Masonic Library?
There is a very large library capable of housing 200,000 books, and an up to date facility that houses computer and photo labs, complete with a full TV production studio. There are also four residence halls, plus a resource center designed for training nurses. Most Masonic retirement communities feature a chapel, and there is a beautiful church already in place on the campus, the Holy Family Chapel.

At the head of the campus sits historic Leland Castle, a circa 1850 gothic revival mansion and former vacation home of wealthy New York hotelier Simeon Leland. It is the cornerstone building of the college and was the first structure acquired when the college was first opened.

Leland Castle
To get all of this in Westchester County for $32 million sounds like an amazing investment with endless possibilities for the future.



There's a certain stage irony to the new Masonic ownership of the campus. The college originally began life in 1904 as the College of St. Angela, the first Catholic women's college in New York State. I suspect the founding Ursuline sisters are spinning in their graves at high speed now.

The College of New Rochelle entered into an agreement this year with Mercy College, which is absorbing the bankrupt school's records and transitioning students into their program. Mercy College is currently leasing the CNR property for $1.8 million until the end of the 2020 school year. 

(Photos culled from the New York Times, Wikipedia, and the CNR website)

5 comments:

  1. It may have been a bargain price, but $32 million is a lot of money for a Grand Lodge always crying financial hardship.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Its not the grand lodge though.
      Its a fund with has its own economy.

      Delete
  2. Outstanding amazing piece of property with unbelievable potential congratulations Freemasons everywhere Happy Thanksgiving

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is the kind of initiative that will help solve the challenges we face.

    ReplyDelete

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