Plans to convert a historic downtown Milwaukee building into a luxury hotel have been indefinitely delayed, with the property listed for sale.
An affiliate of Madison-based Ascendant Holdings Real Estate bought the former Humphrey Scottish Rite Masonic Center, 790 N. Van Buren St., in 2017 for $3.5 million.
Ascendant planned to convert the three-story Masonic Center into the hotel’s lobby, restaurant and meeting rooms, with a 14-story addition atop the building’s southern end, stepped back from the street.
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That tower was designed for 215 to 220 guest rooms, with five to 10 guest rooms on the Masonic Center’s third floor.
Those plans were approved by the city Historic Preservation Commission, with Portland, Oregon-based Provenance Hotels agreeing to manage the hotel.
But, a planned 2019 construction start didn’t happen. And this year’s COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the hotel industry.
Ascendant now has the building listed for sale with Colliers International, a commercial real estate brokerage.
“In light of the current market conditions in the hospitality sector, our proposed hotel plan is on hold,” said Eric Nordeen, Ascendant co-owner.
Prospective buyers include hotel developers, Nordeen said, “so the possibility for a similar project still exists, and we may or may not have a role in the project going forward.”
“It’s a great site for a variety of uses, and should be worthy of development when market conditions stabilize, he said.
Scottish Rite sold the building because the fraternal organization’s dwindling membership could no longer afford to maintain it.
The building was constructed as a church in 1889 and became a Masonic facility in 1912. It was extensively remodeled in 1936.
This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Conversion of historic downtown Milwaukee Masonic Center to hotel is on hold, and the building is for sale.