One of the keystone, yet mysterious, buildings in the Everett Square has sold to an Allston man who is being quiet about his intentions thus far. The Masonic Building – long condemned and vacant – sits adjacent to the old high school on Broadway and has been a key question mark in the forward-thinking development plans for the Everett Square Urban Renewal Area. Now, the former owner, Islamic Association of Massachusetts – located in Washington state, has sold the property to a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) controlled by Mani Farahani. Farahani paid $906,000 for the building. He did not immediately return a call and message left for him at his place of business, Boston Foreign Motor Sales in Allston.
There is little online about his previous development experience. Inspectional Services Director Jim Soper said they have had a meeting with Farahani recently following the sale. That meeting included Fire Prevention, a Building Inspector and a professional engineer. Soper said the building is condemned, and water damage over the years has made the floors unstable. That and many other concerns prompted the meeting to make sure he understood the requirements the City had in terms of engineering and structural repairs.
“We are preparing the list of things he need to take care of to make it safe, and he’s open to doing that,” said Soper. “The issue is there needs to be some engineering reassessment – such as whether or not you can use the existing exterior walls or whether you need a steel frame from the footings up…Those are all the things that need to be assessed to make sure it’s safe. What he wants to do is something he’s not willing to speak about yet, but he does want to do something with it. We have no idea what it is though.”
Soper said as long as the new owner take the list and makes progress on what is asked of him, they can ask no more of him. The building has been identified in the Everett Square planning efforts as a unique structure that could be made into something very interesting. However, the large stumbling block is the structural issues that persist in the building, as well as the City’s desire to keep the historic exterior and façade.