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Bluejeans moguls to turn Masonic lodge in L.A. into a private museum

The co-founders of clothier Guess have bought the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple on Wilshire Boulevard, and they plan to turn it into a private art museum.

July 24, 2013|By Roger Vincent

Zoning on the stretch of Wilshire known as Park Mile limits construction on the site to only 40 housing units, however. New high-density residential, office and retail uses are forbidden between Highland Avenue and Wilton Place, Bacani said.

The Windsor Square Assn., a neighborhood homeowners group, fought abuses by previous users of the temple's theater facilities and zealously guards zoning restrictions, he said. "Windsor Square is the last homeowners association you want to get mad at you."

Attorney John Welborne, the association's vice president for planning and land use, said "a private art museum is something that would be allowed by zoning and would be welcome."

Sheets, who died in 1989, designed the look of more than 50 gilded Home Savings and Loan branches, many of which are now Chase bank branches.

In a 1977 interview he described the Wilshire Boulevard temple as being like a small city. His design included a 2,000-seat auditorium, various meeting halls, private offices, a commercial kitchen and a dining room on the top floor that seated 1,500. There was also a recreational floor with a library, pool tables, reading rooms and a card room.

Sheets, who was the head of Scripps College's art department and director of the Otis Art Institute, also created the library mural at Notre Dame University in Indiana that looms over the football stadium and is known as "Touchdown Jesus."

roger.vincent@latimes.com

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