The former Mount Moriah Masonic Temple at 1229 Emerson St. in Evanston has a new owner.

Buyer Dwayne MacEwen, principal at DMAC Architecture in Evanston, plans to renovate the property for office and retail use.

The two-story, 8,400 square foot building, constructed in 1929, was designed by Walter Thomas Bailey (1882 – 1941), an African-American architect from Kewaunee, Ill. Bailey, known for building theaters and Masonic Temples, was the first African-American graduate with a bachelor of science degree in architectural engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

In a news release announcing the sale, Alan Goldberg of Fara Commercial Brokerage, which represented the seller, the John E. Fuller family trust, said the property is a special development opportunity. “The concrete and masonry structure has strong bones, yet requires signficant upgrades to meet current building requirements.”

“The second floor features a spectacular clear span meeting hall with 12-foot ceilings,” Goldberg added, “and still has the original herringbone hardwood floor and antique, ornamental light fixtures.”

The building has been used in recent years as the offices for CEDA Neighbors at Work as well as the Evanston branch of the NAACP.

Public records indicate that MacEwen paid $350,000 for the building and a 2,500 square foot parking lot behind it.

The property had been on the market since late 2012.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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