The Village of Floral Park has sold its iconic Centennial Hall for $1.2 million, making way for the former Masonic Temple on Tulip Avenue to be redeveloped into an apartment complex.
The sale of the historic structure came a year and a half after the village finalized the contract with the Hewlett-based real estate developer to convert the building into 10 two-bedroom and eight one-bedroom apartments.
The deal, which closed Dec. 18, came with two stipulations. First, the developer cannot use the property for anything other than residential purposes for the next 30 years — even if the developer sells Centennial Hall to another party. Second, the four columns at the front of the building will stay.
“There’s so much history in it,” Mayor Dominick Longobardi said. “So, we wanted to make sure whoever is taking it over will keep the beauty and majesty of it.”
Centennial Hall is an 8,500-square-foot, four-columned Greek Revival building that was built in 1925 and used primarily as a Masonic Temple. In 2004, Floral Park Lodge No. 1016 Free and Accepted Masons sold the building to the village for $1.5 million. The village used Centennial Hall to house the Floral Park Historical Society from 2005 to 2015.
Village officials had tried to sell or lease the property since 2015, saying the building was “in major disrepair” and was no longer fit for governmental use.
The village had looked into repurposing the building to make it a library, a police station, a fire house and a community center, Longobardi said. But the cost of repair and upkeep would be too high for the village to take on, he said.
Construction for the apartments is expected to begin in the spring and take 18 to 24 months to complete, said Licethe Friedman, vice president of The Friedman Group.
"It’s an icon for Floral Park," Friedman said. "We are looking forward to beautifying it and bringing it back to its glory."
Village officials said Floral Park does not yet have plans for the funds it received from the sale. The property, which was not taxed because it was owned by the government, is expected to generate about $20,000 in tax revenue annually for the village.
In addition to the tax revenue, Longobardi said the new complex will provide needed housing for the residents and maintain the architectural aesthetics of the historic building.
“It will be an addition that will enhance our residential area … and our business district as well,” the mayor said. “This is going to be a good thing for the village. It will be a beautiful place for people to live [in]. We look forward to it.”