Masonic razing targeted for May

The former VAST office building on Third St., may be razed along with the former Masonic Temple, because of the difficulty and expense of protecting the smaller structure during a demolition.

City qualifies for $290,000 state loan

By Seth Schmidt

Thanks to a low-interest state loan, the City of Tracy is moving ahead with plans to demolish a downtown landmark.
The Tracy City Council is seeking bids for razing the 90-year-old Masonic building at the corner of Third and Morgan, with a timeline of awarding a demolition bid on April 25. City leaders hope the demolition will be completed in May.
To finance the demolition, the Tracy Economic Development Authority has qualified for up to a $290,000 low-interest, long-term loan from the Minnesota Department of Economic Development.  Up to half of the loan could be forgiven, if the cleared site is used for a redevelopment that creates jobs/and or generates significant new property taxes.
“This is a big deal,” Tara Onken, Tracy EDA coordinator, told city council members.  The Tracy Masonic application vied for a limited amount of state funds, with projects elsewhere also seeking the state money. Onken thanked all who had helped supply information for the Tracy application.
The demolition will likely also include the razing of the former VAST building directly north of the vacant Masonic structure.  The EDA obtained an $8,000 purchase option on the VAST building, after learning that it could cost the city far more in demolition costs, if a contractor was required to protect the VAST property while razing the much larger Masonic structure.
Kyleen Olson Photography now leases the VAST building.

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.