Lehigh Valley

Days could be numbered for Bethlehem's Masonic Temple

Days could be numbered for Bethlehem's Masonic Temple

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - An iconic Bethlehem building's days could be numbered.

NIP Wilbur, LLC, owned by longtime Lehigh Valley residents John Noble and Robert Ashford, is seeking approval from city officials to tear down the masonic temple on Wyandotte Street.

Engineering reports done by the developer showed the building is beyond repair after suffering water and mold damage. 

Plans submitted to the city's zoning hearing board call for the construction of two four-story apartment buildings containing 64 units. The proposal also includes an addition to the adjacent Wilbur Mansion for offices.

"We plan to preserve the history of the Masonic building and organization by having a display in the new office building," Noble said in a release detailing the project. 

Noble said the goal of the project is to "create a vibrant gateway" for the city of Bethlehem. Noble said the project has the potential to save a very important piece of Bethlehem history in The Wilbur Mansion and will enhance the entrance into South Bethlehem.

The zoning board will consider the plan later this month.

The Bethlehem Masonic Society sold the temple and mansion last year.

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