One of the most recognizable buildings in downtown Detroit has a new owner. The Grand Army of the Republic Building (GAR) was recently purchased by Joe Barbat and Barbat Holdings, who intend to use the building for an event space and a new steakhouse.

The GAR Building was built in 1899 as a place for Civil War veterans to gather. The castle-like building sits on a triangular plot of land along Grand River Avenue. As its use for Civil War veterans decreased, in the 1940s the city's Parks and Recreation Department took over (hence the Parks & Rec diner that was once located there). After various uses and ownership disputes, the Ilitch family bought it and didn't use it. Its latest owners were Tom and David Carleton and Sean Emery, who brought the building back to use and won an award for its preservation.

“Situated in the heart of the District Detroit and Grand Circus Park, the GAR Building has been an icon since opening in the late 1800’s,” said Joe Barbat, chairman & CEO of Barbat Holdings. “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. Our team is honored to add this historic landmark to our portfolio of properties.”

Barbat has numerous properties across metro Detroit; readers would likely recognize the Houze properties - Gabriel Houze, Briggs Houze, Philip Houze. The GAR Building is in a prime location considering its upcoming neighbor, the Detroit Center for Innovation.

Collier's International Brokers, Ben Hubert and Benji Rosenzwieg, handled the sale of the building.