Historic landmark commission approves certificate of appropriateness for Royal Arch Masonic Lodge in downtown Austin

The proposal includes the addition of a roughly 30-story tower atop the Royal Arch Masonic Lodge in downtown Austin. Courtesy City of Austin
The proposal includes the addition of a roughly 30-story tower atop the Royal Arch Masonic Lodge in downtown Austin. Courtesy City of Austin

The proposal includes the addition of a roughly 30-story tower atop the Royal Arch Masonic Lodge in downtown Austin. Courtesy City of Austin

The city of Austin Historic Landmark Commission voted 6-4 to approve a certificate of appropriateness—a prerequisite for building permits on historic sites—for a roughly 30-story addition to the Royal Arch Masonic Lodge at 311 W. Seventh St. at an Oct. 28 meeting.

Built in 1926 and designated a historic landmark in 2000, the Arch Masonic building is operated by local chapter of Freemasons.

“We want to see the building go up,” said Carl Sizemore, guard for the local chapter, explaining that otherwise the building is likely to fall into further disrepair.

Stone Development and architecture firms Rhode Partners and Clayton & Little proposed a three-story glass atrium and high-rise tower atop the existing building, which will be restored during the construction process.

The vote arrived after a series of postponements and requests from commissioners to ensure the addition aligns with historic preservation standards.

“[City] staff throughout this [process] has been a little bit hesitant, actually not just a little bit—about the precedent that we are setting here in Austin considering that we have a number of low-rise historic landmarks in the downtown area,” Historic Preservation Officer Steve Sadowsky told commissioners.

Ultimately, however, staff recommended that commissioners approve the certificate of appropriateness for the project as proposed.

“[The applicants have] taken great pains to preserve the exterior walls and the look of the historic landmark,” Sadowsky said.

Commissioner Kevin Koch called the project “divisive” but voted to support awarding the certificate because of the developer’s commitment to restoring both the exterior and interior of the existing building.

“It’s not ideal, but given the ownership and the desire to maintain this ownership and the location and the value of the property and all these extenuating circumstances, [they] lead me to believe this is a reasonable alteration to the building,” Koch said.

Commissioners said they would continue to maintain a close watch on the project as it progresses.


The city of Austin authorized the purchase of a Rodeway Inn at 2711 S. I-35 on Nov. 14. The city plans to convert the property into a homeless shelter. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
City Council green lights $8 million Rodeway Inn plan for homeless shelter transition, vows to address crime in the area

South Austin neighbors raised concerns that criminal activity in the area will put homeless individuals who enter the shelter at risk.

Lady Bird Lake at Congress Avenue in Austin. Since late July, parts of the lake have been off limits due to high concentrations of toxic "blue-green" algae. (Courtesy Miguel Gutierrez Jr./The Texas Tribune)
Toxic algae blooms are becoming more common, scientists say

Months have passed, but the capital city still has signs up warning of ongoing dangerous conditions in Lady Bird Lake.

Community members examine updated zoning maps at land development code town hall in October.
Land development code rewrite heads to City Council for final approval, marking home stretch of nearly 7-year process

Austin's long-awaited land development code rewrite is heading to City Council for final approval.

Crews work on updating a section of I-35 in Central Texas (Courtesy TxDOT)
Central Texas transportation agencies investing millions in I-35 for new lanes, intersection improvements aimed at aiding mobility

About 20 miles of I-35 through Central Texas will see an infusion of $400 million in state and federal funding to add one to two additional lanes in an effort to improve mobility.

Juice Society announces closure

Juice Society owner Danielle Sobel announced the closing of its location at 1100 S. Lamar Blvd., Ste. 1116, …

Balanced Health Austin now open in North Central Austin

Balanced Health Austin opened Nov. 5 at 7301 Burnet Road, Ste. 21, Austin. Owner Kayla Breaux said the health …

Rastegar Property developing mixed-use property on South First Street

Rastegar Property purchased a 1.77-acre property at 2209 S. First St., Austin, and will develop it as a …

All Saints Tattoo now open on Burnet Road

All Saints Tattoo held a grand opening Aug. 31 for its location at 8303 Burnet Road, Ste. 2, Austin. The …

St. David's HealthCare is the founding partner with Two Oak Ventures, the ownership group of Austin FC. (Courtesy Austin FC, STG Design)
Austin FC to locate $45M training facility at mixed-use Parmer Innovation Center in Northeast Austin

Austin FC announces $45 million training facility to be located in Northeast Austin at new development

Neighborhood Goods coming to South Congress in 2020

Department store Neighborhood Goods will open in 2020 at 1009 and 1011 S. Congress Ave., Austin. The company …

Capital CBD American Shaman now open on Burnet Road

Capital CBD American Shaman opened Sept. 19 at 8315 Burnet Road, Ste. C, Austin. Franchise owners Steve Leach …

Delia Garza speaks to her constituents at a town hall meeting in 2017.
Austin Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza says she will not seek re-election as Travis County attorney rumors heat up

Austin's mayor pro tem will not seek reelection to her Southeast Austin district seat in 2020.

Back to top