Recently, Village of Floral Park officials closed on the sale of Centennial Hall, which was formerly known to many as the Masonic Temple for years, to Centennial Holdings LLC after many public visioning sessions, which dated back all the way to 2015. Centennial Hall will now be converted into an 18 residential unit apartment building. The terms include a 30-year deed restriction limiting future development of the property to residential use and the building aesthetics must be maintained.
“The village is excited about the sale of Centennial Hall and the development of 18 new rental apartments that border both our residential and business districts,” Mayor Dominick Longobardi said. “We hope these new apartments will give a variety of options to our seniors who want to downsize, but remain in our wonderful village, our younger residents a chance to start out on their own and invite new residents to become part of our village family. We believe the selection of the offer made by the Friedman Group was good for our village as they understand what the vision for that property is and we look forward to working closely with them as they restore the beauty and majesty to one of Floral Park’s treasures. I want to thank trustee Dr. Lynn Pombonyo and the entire village board, village administrator Gerry Bambrick, village attorney John Ryan, our commercial realty group nationally recognized CBRE and of course, our wonderful residents, all of who put in a lot of time and effort over the last few years to help bring us to a great future for that building, our residents and businesses, and our village.”
The process of selling Centennial Hall started back in 2015 under former mayor Tom Tweedy. The village looked for options and hired architects to give them ideas and also acquired a real estate brokerage firm to get an idea of the value of the property. Before deciding upon having Centennial Hall become residential apartments, the village thought about converting Centennial Hall into commercial retail or a medical office space. The village set up a committee and focus group to review those proposals. After hearing resident concerns and input, the village decided to go down the residential apartment route.
The History Behind Centennial Hall
In June 1914, leaders from Floral Park and others organized a Masonic Club. By 1923, the Grand Lodge of Masons—NY State granted permission to form a Lodge of Master Masons in Floral Park was formalized. For more than eight decades, the Masons and affiliated organizations carried out numerous benevolent activities within Floral Park and beyond.
The Masonic Temple was built in 1925 on a playing field where there was a baseball diamond at the junction of Carnation and Tulip avenues. The 8,500 square-foot building with four-columns reflected a Greek Revival style of architecture. It had three stories consisting of a mezzanine with a powder room for the ladies, a first floor event room and kitchen, a second floor ceremonial room for the use of the “brothers” of Floral Park Lodge and as many as 15 other Masonic Lodges as well as members of Floral Park Chapter of the Eastern Star (formed in 1923), and a fourth floor office area.
Wedding receptions, family celebrations, holiday parties, Republican Club dinners and other events were held in the Masonic Temple. This building at the entrance of the village was purchased by the Village of Floral Park in 2004 and renamed Centennial Hall. It housed the Floral Park Historical Society Museum and Archives and continued to be a meeting place for local groups.