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Zembo Shrine in Harrisburg has new owner

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The Zembro Shrine Center was listed last year for $950,000. The new buyer hasn't yet closed on the purchase and declined to disclose the purchase price.
The Zembro Shrine Center was listed last year for $950,000. The new buyer hasn't yet closed on the purchase and declined to disclose the purchase price. - (Photo / )

Harrisburg's iconic Zembo Shrine Center in Harrisburg, which was put up for sale last year, will soon have a new owner.

An affiliate of Beaty Capital Group, an Arkansas-based real estate investment group, is buying the Zembo Shrine with plans to preserve it as a meetings and events space, said Mike Brown, the company's vice president of acquisitions and development.

"The use won't change," he said.

The deal hasn't closed yet and Brown would not disclose the purchase price. The building was listed for $950,000.

Brown said Temple Live LLC, the entertainment arm of Beaty, is buying the Zembo Shrine. Temple Live is still in the planning stages regarding any renovations it may make to the building. The company is assessing the mechanical and electrical systems, he said. The arena space doesn't have air conditioning.

The Zembo purchase is the company's first deal in the Harrisburg area. But it fits in with other historic buildings the company has recently bought.

Beaty bought the former Masonic Temple in Fort Smith, Ark., in 2014 and turned it into Temple Live, a concert and event venue. More recently, the company purchased the Masonic Temple and Performing Arts Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Renovation plans are underway.

The Zembo Shrine is known for hosting the annual Zembo Shrine circus and other large-scale events, including presidential campaign visits.

The building has been the home of the Harrisburg affiliate of the Shriners, an international organization that administers the Shriners Hospitals for Children and whose members wear red fezzes.

The 62,621-square-foot building was erected in 1928 and 1929. Architect Charles Howard Lloyd designed the structure, which was built for an estimated $1 million, according to the Zembo website. The interior design includes examples of Moroccan-influenced arches, chandeliers and ornate hand-painted motifs.

Brown said his company is in talks with the Shriners about staying in the building. Organization officials said last year that they expected proceeds of a building sale would be put toward the purchase of a smaller Shriners facility in the Harrisburg area.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jscott@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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