A team of investors and developers have banded together to renovate the Prince Hall Masonic Temple Building in Birmingham’s 4th Avenue Historic District. Learn more about the future of one of Birmingham’s most beautiful buildings.
Birmingham’s Cultural Jewel
Back in August, I was invited to take a sneak peak into the building. Although the paint was peeling and the floor was littered with debris, I could tell that the bones of the building were solid. And with a little imagination, I could see what the interior must have looked like during its heyday.
When I spoke with Dennis Simmons, the Mason who took me on a tour of the building, he hoped that the temple would be restored by the building’s centennial in 2022. Now, it seems his dream will come true.
Renovating a Historic District
In November 2019, the Prince Hall Masons announced that they were working with a team of developers on a $29 million renovation for the Masonic Temple Building. The developers include Irvin Henderson of Henderson and Company, who is also involved in the renovation of the Ramsay-McCormack Building in Ensley.
The Vision for the Prince Hall Masonic Temple
To help fund the renovation, the team is applying for both federal and Alabama historic tax credits as well as Opportunity Zone funding. Historic tax credits have helped fund renovations of many Birmingham structures, such as the John Hand Building, Empire Building and Lyric Theatre.
The team envisions a mixed-use development with space for retail, makers, offices and events. Since the building was the center of commerce for the 4th Avenue District, the development aims to recreate that atmosphere. For example, the famous second floor ballroom will remain an event space. Throughout the years, the ballroom hosted legendary acts such as Erskine Hawkins and Duke Ellington.
When Does Construction Start?
Renovations will begin during the first quarter of 2020. If all goes smoothly, the construction could wrap up by the end of the year!
Additionally, the Prince Hall Masons launched a GoFundMe campaign in 2017 with the goal of raising $500,000 to help with restoration costs for the building. Any little bit helps to renovate one of Birmingham’s most culturally significant buildings.