Southland Muslim Association is buying masonic centre

The Southland Masonic Centre. Photo: Southland Express
The Southland Masonic Centre. Photo: Southland Express

The Southland Muslim Association is buying the Southland Masonic Centre.

Imam Reza Abdul Jabbar confirmed on Wednesday the association's bid for the building in Invercargill had been accepted and ''due diligence'' was being done to finalise the sale.

The category 1 heritage building, which opened in 1926, was listed for sale by tender last November.

It is understood a committee of the Freemasons held a lengthy meeting about the future of the Forth St complex on March 5.

Imam Abdul Jabbar said that if the sale went through there would be no changes to the centre and the Southern Farmers Market, which is held every Sunday, would continue.

''Maybe the name on it [would change] a little bit. We love that building,'' he said.

He said that no decision had been taken yet on the association's current premises at 31 Fairview Ave, from where it had operated for the past decade, which claim to be the ''southernmost masjid [mosque] in the world''.

Imam Abdul Jabbar said all existing bookings would be honoured and the aim was for the building to remain an active part of the Invercargill community.

''We want to contribute to this society. We are New Zealanders. We are here as a part of the community.''

Last month, the association stated on its website it was interested in buying the property.

It is understood several tenders were considered and, according to one source, they ''were all solid''.

It was not known how much was offered for the building.

giordano.stolley@odt.co.nz

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