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Aladdin Shrine Center to be Demolished

COLUMBUS (Ashley Yore/Kate Liebers) -- Columbus is set to lose another rentable venue for events.

In addition to the Veterans Memorial in downtown Columbus, the Aladdin Shrine Center in Easton is also set to be demolished.

The owners of Easton gave the Shriners an offer they said they couldn't refuse -- about $13 million for the 82,000 square foot building.
"It's an opportunity that may not come again so we had to take that offer," said William R. Amspaugh Jr., potentate of Aladdin Shrine.

He said the Shriners really don't need all the space anyway. Over the years, the number of members has decreased from 17,000 to 6,000, forcing their focus from brotherhood to business.

"Obviously, when you lose that amount of membership it has to affect in the dues, so the income that you receive from your dues-paying members massively declines," Amspaugh said.

The downsizing process will entail moving 34 showcases with memorabilia, among other tasks.

But what the group is all about won't change, Amspaugh said.

"The building does not dedicate or dictate who or what the Shrine is," he said. "It's the membership."

The Shriners have until 2017 to leave the facility, so groups that rent space there have some time to find other options.

They already have a committee scouting out a new home base.
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