THE Southland Muslim Association is buying the Southland Masonic Centre in Invercargill.
Imam Reza Abdul Jabbar confirmed yesterday their bid for the iconic building had been accepted and they were doing “due diligence” to finalise the sale.
The Category 1 heritage building, which opened in 1926, was listed as being for sale by tender in November last year. It is understood a committee of the Masons held a lengthy meeting about the fate of the Forth St complex on March 5.
Southland Real Estate agent Graeme Ridder, who is dealing with the transaction said earlier this week an offer for the building had been accepted, but it was subject to conditions. He said he could not comment any further.
Imam Abdul Jabbar said if the sale went through there would be no changes to the centre and the popular farmers’ market would continue.
“Maybe the name on it a little bit. We love that building.”
He said no decision had been taken yet on the association’s current premises located at 31 Fairview Ave, from where it had operated for the past decade, claiming to be the “southern-most Masjid 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 where people meet and celebrate life events, such as weddings.
“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 that it was interested in purchasing the historic property.
Comment could not immediately be obtained from the freemasons, but it is understood several tenders were considered and according to one source they “were all solid”.