The Towson Moose Lodge property on Mylander Lane, which for over six decades has housed the fraternal organization's meetings and hosted community events, is for sale after the lodge's charter was revoked earlier this year.
The property was schedule for a foreclosure auction on Friday, Sept. 6, but Matt Mueller, who is listing the property with MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate, said Moose International had intended to pay off the property and never planned for an auction.
"It's traditionally up for sale for now for us," Mueller said. Since the property was listed, Mueller said the two-acre property's zoning classification, which allows for roadside businesses, and its location among major property owners such as Merritt, the Luskin Family, and Heritage properties, make it an appealing property.
Mueller said it's "probably 50-50" between potential buyers who would keep the property in its current state and those who would redevelop it.
The building's imminent sale marks the end of the fraternal organization's 63-year run in Towson. According to Gene Leasure, the Towson order's last governor, the lodge never planned to end the way it did.
Leasure, who joined the lodge in March 2009, said he almost immediately became aware of the lodge's financial difficulties. Though there were roughly 170 dues-paying members of the lodge, Leasure said between 10 and 15 worked during his first three years to keep the lodge afloat.
In May 2012, Leasure said the Board of Officers determined that the expenses—two mortgages totaling $140,000 and an additional $20,000 owed to vendors—was too much for such a large building, and they decided to sell the building.
"It was very costly to maintain that structure and that building, and we just weren't getting enough income from our events to continue on with that," Leasure said.
An appraisal for the property came in at $1.1 million—a number corroborated on the most recent tax form for the property—and Leasure said the lodge sought a bridge loan to take care of expenses until they could pay off their debts through the sale.
"We hired a Realtor and a lawyer, and we were moving forward to sell the property," Leasure said. "The ultimate goal was once the property was sold, to purchase a smaller operation in the Towson area and keep the lodge going."
After extensively seeking help from bank lenders, Moose International, and the Maryland-Delaware-DC Moose Association, Leasure said a lender was close to agreeing to a loan earlier this year when the Lodge 562's charter was revoked.
Wehrmeister said in an email that he "can't elaborate as to a detailed reason for the Moose International Board's decision to revoke the charter," but Leasure said that at the first meeting of the year in February, "officials came in…and told us we couldn't have our meeting, took our charter off the wall and basically locked up the building."
At that meeting, Leasure said, they also dissolved the board. But a small "unofficial" board convened soon thereafter to attempt to continue the sale so they could move into a smaller, more suitable venue.
"There was no reason, based on the commitment of the members, that we couldn't have gotten it done," Leasure said.
Their attorney sought an injunction that claimed the lodge belonged to the members, not Moose International, but it was ultimately never filed. Leasure said Moose International took ownership of the property — an act Wehrmeister said is authorized by the organization's constitution — and plans to sell it.
But Leasure, who said he stopped following the property's fate months ago out of frustration, said even more upsetting was that no lodge existed for the Towson members.
"The existing board, when I came in, was doing everything they could to basically maintain the lodge presence in Towson," Leasure said. "There's really no reason we couldn't have gotten this done."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun