A historic Atlanta property that once housed the offices of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is undergoing a renovation.
Urbanize Atlanta reported the Prince Hall Masonic Lodge is being readied for a rehabilitation designed to expand its access and provide more affordable spaces for local businesses and nonprofits while creating a tourist attraction.
The three-story structure building was built in 1937 and expanded four years later. The renovation plans include converting the basement and first floor into an educational and interpretive exhibit that would include the offices where Dr. King first operated the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during the 1950s – this space will be leased and operated by the National Park Service. Local businesses and nonprofits would occupy the ground-level retail units and second floor, while the Prince Hall Masons will continue to lease the third floor and a section of the second floor.
The renovation project received $1.5 million in grant funding in 2021 and the property’s owners requested a $250,000 predevelopment loan from Invest Atlanta, an economic development agency. The project is budgeted at $10.2 million, and the developers plan a combination of private donations and federal tax credits to complete the work by the first quarter of 2025.
In addition to Dr. King’s tenancy, the building was also once the home for WERD, the first radio station owned and programmed by Black Americans. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 as a contributing building in the National Historic Landmark District.
Photo: Michael Barera / Wikimedia Commons