After amassing $152,000 in unpaid property taxes dating back to 2010, the Masonic Temple is now in foreclosure. It's been a long time coming. Last year, DTE came within days of shutting off gas and electricity service after the Masonic failed to pay the bills, so you know their bank balance can't have too many commas. The Detroit News is reporting that the Masonic is now firmly in the hands of the Wayne County Treasurer. Without finding some sort of savior, it'll join the thousands of properties set to head to this year's tax foreclosure auction, which is already shaping up to be the most absurd/compelling/depressing affair, ever.
What Might Happen: 1. The Masonic owners could get a payment plan set up. Wayne County is already overwhelmed with foreclosed properties. It certainly doesn't want to deal with securing/managing/mantaining the world's largest masonic temple. It's a solid bet that if the Masonic owners offered to cut the county a check for a small part of the balance, they'd be able to get on a payment plan.
2. The city, state, or county could buy it. They get first dibs on these properties, but this seems rather unlikely.
What Seems Most Likely / The Curbed Crystal Ball: The Ilitch people will buy it, or at least take control somehow. The Masonic Temple is the northern border of the anticipated Ilitch arena site. Why would they let a competing interest take control? Don't forget, the Ilitches are no strangers at the Masonic— they briefly took over event management few years back. As a major concert venue, this is the perfect crown jewel for the entertainment district. The real question is how they might go about it. Collaborate with the county for a pre-auction purchase? Or roll the dice and hope it's still available in the second round, when the $160K in back taxes are cleared?
· Detroit's Masonic Temple in foreclosure [Det News]