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Progress Continues on GAR's Glorious Restaurant Spaces

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The GAR in Summer 2013. Photo by Chris and Michelle Gerard

While its exterior shows few signs of life, renovations continue humming along inside the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Building. Since the final days of 2013, crews have blasted out walls, planned the two new restaurant spaces, and chopped a giant hole running from the first floor to the attic.

You know, just normal castle stuff.

Where most people saw an abandoned castle with an attic full of bird turds, local production company Mindfield saw office space. Roughly two years have passed since we first wrote about the impending renovation. According to the original timeline, the GAR should be little more than a good Swiftering away from its debut. Alas, intense renovation work continues, with an updated goal of opening this fall.

[Photo by Mindfield's Lindsey Yeo]
The GAR's original two storefronts were liberated last year by smashing through some ugly glass block windows. Now, crews are smashing through an old brick wall, providing access to what must be the creepiest basement in Detroit. The storefronts have been claimed by The Republic (a tavern) and an unnamed diner. According to the official GAR blog, the restaurants will be sharing the same kitchen, which provides some big challenges for chefs and architects alike.

[Photo by Mindfield's Lindsey Yeo]
Much of The Castle's original plumbing was scrapped during its thirty years of vacancy, presenting a problem for the HVAC system. This hole will allow new pipes to be installed, while another chasm awaits the GAR's new elevator.
More photos and details can be found on the official GAR Blog. >>