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On the Market: Grand Army of the Republic

The National Register of Historic Places site in downtown Detroit was home to the now-closed Parks & Rec Diner and Republic tavern, victims of the pandemic

A five-story castle-like structure sits at the intersection of three cross streets
The five-story building, home to two restaurants, is available for purchase or lease.
Gerard + Belevender

Grand Army of the Republic Building, recently home to popular restaurants Parks & Rec Diner and Republic, is up for sale.

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.

republic interior
The interior of Republic nodded to its historic home
Gerard + Belevender
A restaurant dining room with a bar and chairs on the left and tables with sofas on the right
Inside the former dining room that housed the Republic tavern
Gerard + Belevender

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.

Parks & Rec dining room with a bar on the right and tables with booth and chairs on the left that abut a window
Parks & Rec was a cozy diner that seated 34
Gerard + Belevender

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.

Grand Army of the Republic Building is at 1942 Grand River Ave. For information on the property, contact the Detroit office of Colliers International Inc. at 248-540-1000.

All Republic Coverage [ED]
All Parks & Rec Coverage [ED]

Republic Tavern

1942 Grand River Avenue, , MI 48226 (313) 446-8360 Visit Website

Grand Army of the Republic Building

1942 Grand River Avenue, , MI 48226 (313) 651-6328 Visit Website

Parks & Rec Diner

1942 West Grand River Avenue, , MI 48226 (313) 446-8370 Visit Website


1942 Grand River, Detroit, MI 48226 (313) 446-8360

Parks & Rec

1942 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48226 (313) 446-8370 Visit Website