Historic Masonic lodge will be reborn as community center

A long vacant landmark in East Price Hill is getting new life.

The former Price Hill Masonic Lodge, 3301 Price Ave., was built in 1912 but has been vacant since the Price Hill Masons left in the mid-1980s. Nonprofit community developer Price Hill Will wants to bring the historic lodge alive and use it as practice and rehearsal space for community arts organizations as well as for other community events.

The group recently broke ground on a $10 million restoration of the 21,000 square foot building. Price Hill Will is partnering with The Model Group to co-develop the site, which was designed by Samuel Hannaford, the noted 19th century Cincinnati architect who designed Music Hall as well as other civic gems.

The renovation will provide a space for new offices for Price Hill Will, practice and rehearsal space for Price Hill Will’s MYCincinnati 120-member youth orchestra, Creative Action Residency, the Price Hillharmonic adult orchestra, and leasable event space for neighborhood groups, community events, and private celebrations.

“Restoring the Masonic Lodge eliminates an eyesore and breathes new life into the Price Avenue corridor in East Price Hill’s Incline District,” says Price Hill Will Executive Director Rachel Hastings. “We expect that this project will catalyze even more positive development for the community.”

The renovation is made possible through a complex financial structure that includes New Markets Tax Credits, Historic Tax Credits, a $2.9 million grant from the City of Cincinnati, and equity from Price Hill Will, bridged by loans from Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Cincinnati Development Fund, and The Port.

Price Hill Will is a nonprofit community development corporation serving the neighborhoods of East, West, and Lower Price Hill.

A short list of its accomplishments includes the renovation of the Elberon apartment building, more than 70 blighted properties renovated and resold as single-family homes, the establishment of the nationally recognized MYCincinnati youth orchestra, and numerous other planning, creative placemaking, and community engagement projects.

Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading, or watching classic movies.