Texas Masonic Retirement Center to Expand
Texas Construction News from Virtual Builders Exchange
Texas Masonic Retirement Center Addition-Keystone Apartments. Courtesy Bennett Benner Partners.
Posted: 4-11-2017, 12:04 p.m.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Arlington (Tarrant County) - The Texas Masonic Retirement Center will expand to provide an additional 36 senior living units in a multi-story building and a museum. This project likely marks the last expansion on the campus, the lead architect told the Planning & Zoning Commission.
The commission was asked to revise a Specific Use Permit created by City Council in 2004 that allowed for future expansion of the retirement center. The revision increases the allowable number of units at the 22.35-acre campus at 1501 West Division Street.
The Texas Masonic Retirement Center was established in 1911 and it provides aging in place care for Masons and the family members. In 2008, a four-story independent senior living center and additional parking was constructed on the campus, by authority of the 2004 SUP.
According to the city staff report presented by Senior Planner Bryan Isham, Texas Masonic Retirement Center proposes to build a 60,500-square-foot, four-story residential building.
"The proposed structure is located internal to the campus, being setback approximately 1,000 feet from the Division Street right-of-way, and is partially screened by existing structures and a large grove of trees," the report states.
The first floor of this addition connects to the dining area of the existing four-story building. It is also connected via a pedestrian bridge. The first floor will also include a museum area dedicated to the preservation of lodge artifacts.
The three above-ground levels will be residential, with one-bedroom units of 814 square feet, and two bedroom units of 985 square feet.
Exterior finishes have been designed to be compatible with the existing development's distinctive architectural character.
The building is on a slope and the owner asked that a sub-floor area be allowed to provide covered parking for 26 vehicles. The proposal also adds nine covered parking spaces at a location north of the new structure.
Brandon Burns of Bennett Benner Partners Architects+Planners represented the Texas Masonic Retirement Center. Burns was asked if there were any plans for further expansion.
Although there is still available land for development, Burns said another expansion was not likely. While membership into the retirement is in a boom phase and there is a waiting list, Burns noted that young people are joining in declining numbers.
"They're trying to not overbuild," Burns said.
The original building, erected in 1911, is a historic site. The center began as a refuge in the state for widows and orphans with no other means to support themselves. Soon after, lodge members realized there was also a great need for retiring masons that could not support themselves.
The building will be named the Keystone Apartments. It derives its name from the Keystone train stop that existed in 1911 and was the depot where future residents arrived, having been given free passage from anywhere in Texas by the Santa Fe and Northern railroads.
Adolfo Pesquera is a veteran news journalist. He has previously worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States. He is a communications graduate of the University of Texas-PanAmerican.
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