Owners Tom Carleton, David Carleton, and Sean Emery have listed the castle-like structure, at Grand River and Cass avenues, for sale or lease at an undisclosed price, Crain’s Detroit Business reports. The restaurants, also owned by the Carletons and Emery, are on the ground floor of the five-story historic building and could exist under the current concepts or be completely repurposed as new restaurants.
Amid the pandemic, the building has largely been vacant, but Republic and Parks & Rec both have a long record of rapid staff turnover, particularly among its executive chefs. The website for Parks & Rec says that brunch “is on hold for the moment” and the Republic tavern site tells visitors “we’ll see you again soon” but a source associated with the restaurants told Eater in March that the restaurants were closed with no plans to reopen. The source said both closures were the result of financial strain brought on by the pandemic and its financial strain.
“They are certainly closing down and we are seeing who has another exciting concept for the building,” David Carleton tells Crain’s of the downtown Detroit restaurant space. “We’re not restaurateurs by nature. We felt it was really important to create restaurants in there that supported the history of the building, the integrity of the building.”
Parks & Rec was a cozy, 34-seat, sit-down diner focusing on breakfast and boozy drinks. Republic offered a modern take on an old-world tavern experience.
Constructed in 1899 at a cost of $50,000, the turreted building was the meeting hall and memorial for an organization called the Grand Army of the Republic, once one of the most influential fraternal organizations in the country. The current owners paid the city of Detroit $220,500 for the 22,000-square-foot space in 2011 and spent $4 million renovating it. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986.