Detroit’s Landmark GAR Building Acquired by Barbat Holdings

Barbat Holdings in West Bloomfield Township has acquired the historic Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Building located at 1942 Grand River Ave. in downtown Detroit. The sale price was not disclosed.
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The GAR building at corner of Grand River and Cass has been bought by Barbat Holdings. // Courtesy of R.J. King
The GAR building at corner of Grand River and Cass has been bought by Barbat Holdings. // Courtesy of R.J. King

Barbat Holdings in West Bloomfield Township has acquired the historic Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Building located at 1942 Grand River Ave. in downtown Detroit. The sale price was not disclosed.

Constructed in 1899 as a place for Civil War veterans to gather, the 30,000-square-foot, five-story GAR Building — resembling a castle it’s one of Detroit’s most recognizable landmarks — is set to be brought back to its original use as a gathering space, with Barbat’s hospitality division, Prime Concepts Detroit, opening a new steakhouse restaurant and event space later this spring that will span the building’s five floors.

Renovated between 2011 and 2015 by brothers Tom and David Carleton, and Sean Emery, the building received the 2019 Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation. Barbat Holdings purchased the building from New GAR with the help of Collier’s International Brokers Ben Hubert and Benji Rosenzwieg.

“The GAR Building has been an icon since opening in the late 1800s,” says Joe Barbat, CEO and chairman of Barbat Holdings, a real estate investment and management company that oversees more than two million square feet of retail shopping centers, multi-family developments, medical buildings, and office space.

“We plan to allocate space for a public memorial room that will display many artifacts that have been left behind to ensure that the building’s historic character is preserved and highlighted.”

The GAR Building is the latest addition for Barbat Holdings, which has acquired and developed more than one million square feet in the city of Detroit, including the former Briggs Hotel, Gabriel Richard and Philip Neudeck buildings, as well as the Michigan Oriental Theater, now home to PAO Detroit, a Pan-Asian restaurant.

“The new steakhouse concept and event space (at the GAR) has been in the works for more than three years,” says Stolion Liti, director of operations at Prime Concepts Detroit. “We look forward to sharing this concept with Detroit and the surrounding community.”

Alec Kanno, general manager and operating partner at Barbat Holdings, will lead the team at the GAR Building, along with executive chef Alex Farhat. Farhat also leads PAO Detroit.

For additional information, visit barbatholdings.com.