Grand Army of the Republic Building
Grand Army of the Republic Building
|Location||1942 West Grand River Avenue|
|Architect||Julius Hess & Richard Raseman|
|Architectural style||Richardsonian Romanesque|
|NRHP reference #||86000262|
|Added to NRHP||February 13, 1986|
The GAR Building was designed by architect Julius Hess, and constructed at 1942 West Grand River and Cass as an appropriate structure for meetings and other GAR related activities. The cost was split between the Grand Army of the Republic (who paid $6000 of the cost) and the city of Detroit (who paid the remainder of the $44,000 total cost). Construction commenced in 1897 on the five-story building.
This Richardsonian Romanesque-designed building lies on a small, triangular lot on the northwest side of downtown Detroit. Originally built for the Grand Army of the Republic members in Detroit, the building included 13 shops and a bank of the ground floor, office space on the second and third floors, and a small auditorium on the fourth floor. As GAR membership dwindled through the beginning part of the 20th century, they were unable to maintain the structure and, by 1934, vacated the building and gave ownership to the city. The GAR Memorial Association, a women's group, used it until 1973. The GAR building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 13, 1986. More recently the city attempted to sell the building, but a coalition including the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War and the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War brought suit against the city of Detroit to block sale of the building, claiming that a clause in the 1898 deed stated that city must preserve the building as a memorial to Civil War veterans.
The Detroit Free Press reported on April 7, 2007, that the GAR Building had been sold to Olympia Development, an arm of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. for a price of $220,500. The Ilitch family also owns the Detroit Red Wings and the Detroit Tigers, as well as the United Artists Theatre Building.
Olympia Development expected to renovate the building at a cost of $2 million, and use it to house staff, though the purchase of the GAR by the Ilitch family was later rescinded. The property was then sold to Mindfield USA, a Detroit-based media company in November 2011 for $220,000, who planned to renovate the building for its headquarters.
The firm began a $2 million to $3 million renovation immediately after purchase, with opening slated for 2014. The plan was to occupy the top two floors of the structure, lease the ground floor for retail and a restaurant and dedicate a memorial to Civil War Veterans with renovation progress documented on a blog page.
The Republic Tavern opened in February 2015 and was named on OpenTable's Top 100 Best Restaurants For Foodies In America in September 2015 and listed on OpenTable's 100 Hottest Restaurants in America in March 2016. Later, the Parks and Rec Diner in an adjacent space.
- National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- Nolan, Jenny (28 January 1997). "The Grand Army of the Republic". The Detroit News. Archived from the original on 1 July 2012. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
- Austin, Dan. "Grand Army of the Republic Building". HistoricDetroit.org. Retrieved 2012-08-03.
- "The G.A.R. Building Detroit". WordPress. Retrieved 2017-01-13.
- Dalby, Beth (27 March 2016). "OpenTable's '100 Hottest Restaurants in America' Includes 2 from Michigan". Bloomfield Patch.