Arabia Shrine Center to be sold

Back in January, we heard that the venerable Arabia Shrine Center on Braeswood near Kirby was on the block. According to Nancy Sarnoff, a deal is in the works.

The 144,632-square-foot facility that’s hosted arts galas, roller derbies and other fundraisers was appraised at $3.5 million in 2006, according to Harris County tax records.

John McDonald, an official with the Shrine center, wouldn’t discuss the sale of the nearly six-acre site because he said it is still pending.

The property sits along the bayou near the Medical Center, Bellaire and Reliant Park.

Increasing land values have made these properties expensive to hold, considering taxes and other expenses.

The appraised value of the Masonic lodge, for example, went from $907,990 in 2003 to $1.5 million last year.

Creech, of Stan Creech Properties, said the Shriners property could sell for upwards of $45 a square foot, or $11.4 million based on increasing values in the inner city.

Makes you wonder how much it would be appraised for if we had a sales price disclosure law. Perhaps if we collected a truer amount from commercial and high-end residential establishments, we could afford to give a charitable organization like the Shriners a break.

I’ll be sorry to see the old place go, as it’s just another piece of Houston history that’s headed for the trash bin. I’m curious as to what the buyer has in mind for the space, assuming they’re not going to just flip it like the Stables buyer wants to do. If you’re going to tear something down, I think the least you can do is be quick about replacing it. We’ll see.

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