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California developer buys Scottish Rite Cathedral in hopes of spurring Peoria “theater district”

PEORIA, Ill. (HOI) — The California developer set on transforming Peoria Heights has set his eyes on a downtown Peoria landmark.

Kim Blickenstaff, the president and CEO of Tandem Diabetes Care who was born and raised in Spring Bay, has purchased the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 400 NE Perry, for $490,000.

The landmark was built in 1925 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Blickenstaff said he sees the building purchase as the first step towards creating a “theater district” in Peoria, modeled after Galesburg’s Orpheum.

The fraternal Scottish Rite group that has used the building for nearly a century will continue to meet there, Blickenstaff said.

“I told them they can use it forever,” said Blickenstaff, who is placing the property in a trust. “It won’t be inherited by my children…It’s going to be preserved for the community.”

Blickenstaff said the building will continue to be available for weddings, concerts and conferences.

“We’re excited about what he’s talking about doing with the building,” said Shaner. “We’re happy people are going to be able to enjoy it and learn about” freemasonry, said Bill Shaner, commander in chief of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Valley of Peoria.

The group has faced declining membership in recent years.

Tim Shelley

Social Media & Digital Content Manager

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