The G.A.R. Building Detroit

The Grand Army of the Republic

I’LL TAKE DOOR #2…

4 Comments

It’s been a while on these posts – we’ve been busy unpacking and opening Republic down on the first level (thanks to all of you who have come out to try the tavern, BTW).

All in all – it’s a lot of fun around here. You can’t help but smile as you walk through the doors each morning which the “boys in blue” once walked through themselves.

Still much work to do at Detroit’s Grand Army building. While phase 1 was the exterior of the building, phase 2 finished the restaurant spaces, common areas and Mindfield’s new home. Phase 3, which we begin this summer, are the spaces in between, the second and third levels. We will prep them and prepare to lease.

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The team made one discovery this week – a previously unknown doorway. It had been hidden behind a plaster wall. We’ve no idea when it was covered up. As we’ve said, we have no original plans for the building and only a hand full of photos.

If you look closely, you can see the arched brick along the opening’s top. It was a quick patch for someone. The lathe ran an area not bigger than the opening itself.

We have a few cool “adds” coming soon. Mindfield is waiting on the rest of our furniture to be delivered and a few more original elements we’re putting back in place.

Keep an eye out.

Author: G.A.R. Building

The G.A.R. building was purchased by the media production firm Mindfield from the City of Detroit in November, 2011. Mindfield has started renovating the G.A.R., with opening slated for November 2014. Mindfield plans to occupy the top two floors itself, lease the ground floor for 2 restaurants, and dedicate a memorial to Civil War Veterans. The G.A.R. Building was designed by architect Julian Hess, and constructed at 1942 West Grand River and Cass as an appropriate structure for meetings and other G.A.R. related activities. The original construction 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.

4 thoughts on “I’LL TAKE DOOR #2…

  1. Please keep the posts coming! We were one of the many (hopefully many) patrons of the Republic Restaurant. We originally had reservations for Saturday Mar 14th before the Natalie MacMaster performance at Orchestra Hall but sadly you had electrical problems that day and had to can our reservations. I went ahead and rescheduled for Sunday and it worked out. The meal was fantastic, the restaurant was great and nicely appointed. We got a special treat when our drinks and desert were on the house because of the previous reservation cancellation. Not necessary but very much appreciated! We toured around the perimeter, saw the glass display case with artifacts found during the restoration and of course the cool G.A.R. tile floor at the base of the main staircase. Looking forward to patronizing the Park & Rec Diner when it opens. Keep up the great work!

  2. hi, what do you like best about the renovated building??>

    • Good morning Al, I think one of the most exciting things now that we are in the building is being able to take more time to really study how is was built and the details of the finishes. Yesterday, when the sun was out, I stood out on the fire escape and looked more closely at how the exits were added in existing windows to accommodate the “additional” means of egress. On the balcony level, much of the original circular window frame was kept in place as to not break up the exterior “look and feel”. It’s cool to finally be in.

  3. Hoping to check out Republic next week. Can’t wait to tour building! Congrats on all you’ve accomplished.

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