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An art deco wonder, Milwaukee's Scottish Rite Masonic Center will soon become apartments

It's another downtown building destined for apartments -- the Scottish Rite Masonic Center. So this week, we're taking one last look at before the transformation begins.

The Center was originally built as the new home of Plymouth Congregational Church in 1889, designed in the Romanesque Revival style. But by 1913, work would begin on an addition that would bring much more art deco influence to the space, the distinctive look it is known for today.

As a Masonic temple, the building was a gathering spot for members of the fraternal order. There was an on-site auditorium (that remained actively programmed with theater and musical performances well into the 2000s), plus a ballroom, library, meeting rooms and even an on-site barber shop.

Tons of architectural gems remain on site, including a set of beautiful stained glass windows. It's unclear how those might be integrated into the new design, but the developer has hinted that they will be put to good use either in the building or at another Masonic temple.

As for what's next, the developer Saxony Capital is working to transform the space into apartments set to open in 2023, and it is promising more of a homey feel.

“We have 10 duplexes and one triplex, which will also have an in-unit movie theater room,” says Saxony Capital’s Josh Mintzer, quoted in Bobby Tanzilo story at OnMilwaukee. “Most of these units are really meant to live more like single-family homes, just inside the envelope of an apartment building."

Listen to our conversation below, and be sure to visit OnMilwaukee for more photos and history.

Director of Digital Content | Radio Milwaukee