Ilitches in negotiations to take over Masonic Temple
June 19, 2007
Posted by George James Malik
If Ilitch Holdings and Olympia Entertainment can't strike a deal with the City of Detroit to build a new rink behind the Fox Theatre, the still-blighted area around the Masonic Temple could provide a suitable alternative, especially given the Ilitches' interest in the Temple itself:
June 19, Detroit News: Mike Ilitch could soon expand his sports and entertainment empire to include operating the landmark Detroit Masonic Temple, which is broke and owes more than $226,000 in unpaid taxes and water bills and faces possible foreclosure early next year.
The huge Gothic-style building's owners are negotiating with Ilitch-owned Olympia Entertainment, and Masonic officials hope a deal can be signed later this month to book shows and concerts and manage the largest Masonic temple in the world. The building is included on state and national registers of historic places. The Masonic Temple Association would still own the building.
"It will absolutely, 100 percent never be for sale," association President Bill Betz said. "If the deal goes through, the bills will be paid -- immediately."
Olympia and Masonic Temple officials have negotiated for about six months. "We have had talks with representatives of the Masonic Temple but nothing is imminent," Ilitch Holdings spokeswoman Karen Cullen said Monday.
The disclosure comes one month after Olympia hired an entertainment and sports facility operations expert. Dana Warg, president of Olympia Entertainment, was a vice president with sports and entertainment promoter AEG and oversaw day-to-day booking and operations of venues that included the Staples Center in Los Angeles.