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Highland Park’s old Masonic Temple could emerge as new Figueroa hot spot

the lodge
Storefront ReportHIGHLAND PARK — With the exception of an occasional quinceañera, banquet and other events, the second floor ballroom of the former Highland Park Masonic Temple is frequently quiet and empty. But that upstairs could be much less sleepy as the new owner pursues plans to open a restaurant and bar in combination with a performance space for live music, theater and other entertainment.

With the capacity to hold hundreds of guests, “The Lodge,” the tentative name for the second-floor space, could emerge as one of the largest hot spots on Figueroa Street, where new restaurants, bars and shops have been opening in renovated buildings.  The new space, however, could also stress out nearby residents concerned about noise and a lack of parking.

On Wednesday night, property owner Hugh Horne appeared before the Land Use Committee of the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council to explain what he has in mind for the historic landmark,  a 1920s Italian Renaissance Revival-style building at the corner of Figueroa and Avenue 56.

Horne said he does not want to change the building’s historic features but does want to add an elevator, upgrade safety systems and include other improvements.  An approximately 2,000-square-foot restaurant and bar would operate during the day and evening hours on the part of the building overlooking Figueroa. The shows and events would take place in the ballroom at the west end of the building.

“We have no intention of disrupting it,” Horne said of the building’s historic character. “We would really love for it to be used on a more regular basis.”

In a filing with the Planning Department, Horne’s group is seeking a permit to serve a full line of alcohol as part of a “restaurant/theater/lounge” with live entertainment and dancing.

One thing The Lodge would not be, Horne said, is a nightclub or a dance club.

Committee members praised Horne for pledging to preserve the building but did raise concerns about noise as well as parking.  The building is not required to have off-street parking under current zoning, leaving guests who arrive by car to search for parking in nearby city lots or on the street.

A consultant on the project said a public hearing will be held on the project, possibly in August.

Horne said plans for The Lodge are still preliminary but expects it would be ready to open next year if the necessary approvals are granted.

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5 comments

  1. So awesome . Cannot wait of this to happen. A much needed improvement.

  2. So it will have dancing, but it won’t be a dance club?

  3. I’m sure the haters will come out in droves to stop a beautiful space from being a safe calm lovely place to grab a drink ,even though they are OK with the current parties that literally vibrate the walls of the Good Girl Dinette. The obscenely loud quinceañeras and private events aka (rave/edm) parties replete with teenage girls dressed in what could only qualify as panties drinking and dropping molly in the alley. Here’s hoping good taste prevails.

    • As a resident that lives steps away from this building and supposed rave events…. I have never seen such activity take place.

      However, still having events or entertainment at this venue even if it’s not night club will still create loud noise. I’ve never heard of dancing without music, have you?

      Yes, the noise will be a concern no matter what goes there… also parking. This area is generally quite now except for the illegal fireworks and the occasional Quinceañera. I love all the new businesses and changes going on here… love walking around and supporting local without having to drive anywhere… but if I wanted to live somewhere with no available parking or constant loud events I would have moved to Hollywood.

      Either way I’m still interested in hearing what they have to say.

  4. I live around the corner and we’re already at the point of needing permit parking on our street. Ever since the Greyhound went in it’s been tough, worse since HP Bowl opened, and this trend will only continue. Under current conditions, residents need and deserve more protections and the district should improve the signage directing people to the large (and underutilized) public lots.

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