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An unusual 105-acre plot of land could soon become the property of the city of Irondale.

The Zamora Shrine, originally owned by the fraternal masonry group known as the Zamora Shriners, was purchased by First Carolina Holdings LLC in October 2020 for $3.5 million.

The Zamora Shriners are a masonry group whose membership benefits children with orthopedic problems and burn injuries. According to the Zamora Shriners website, they have 20 units and nine statewide shrine clubs.

On June 7, the Irondale City Council voted to authorize the purchase of the property from First Carolina Holdings for $5 million.

Irondale City Council member Aaron Sims said the deal will likely be officially closed by the end of July, according to the most recent estimates.

Sims is a real estate broker by trade and represents the 5th District of Irondale.

Sims said there is no plan for what to do with the property yet. He said the city wanted to purchase the property so its citizens could decide what was done with it.

“Anything’s possible,” Sims said. “We’ll see what the citizens want to do when we finally close and start asking for input.”

The bright pink 57,000-square-foot Zamora Shrine building, topped with an iconic golden dome, includes a meeting hall, a 2,500-seat arena and a 500-space parking lot.

Sims said that no matter what the city decides to do with the property, the building will likely have to come down. However, the large plot of land will present many options for the citizens of Irondale.

“With 105 acres, there’s lots of stuff that could come next,” Sims said. “...That’s a lot of space to do a lot of things with.”

Sims said he’s noticed some demand for new youth sports facilities, which could be a use for the property. He’s heard others suggest possibly creating a civic center there. Either way, he’s confident that Irondale will find a use for it.

“Controlling that 105-acres and getting it for what we’re willing to pay is going to be a [greater] benefit for Irondale and its citizens than the money spent now,” Sims said.

The Irondale City Council will most likely be voting to authorize the payment for the property in their next meeting, which will be the next step toward closing the deal with First Carolina Holdings.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email will.blakely@1819news.com

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