$2.2M land buy tied to Ilitches
Vacant buildings, empty lots in Cass Corridor purchased in 2015
A former drag-queen bar where the Grammy Award-winning band The White Stripes played their first show is part of another quiet, mass purchase of Detroit land by an entity linked to the billionaire Ilitch organization.
The building that once housed the Gold Dollar bar is among the properties on the 3100 block of Cass Avenue purchased in 2015 for $2.2 million in a single sale, according to public records that were made available only recent- ly. The properties were then transferred a year later for $1 to Cass Revival LLC, whose 2211 Woodward address is the downtown Fox Theatre.
An entity called Urban Horticulture, LLC, was listed as the 2015 buyer from then-owner Joel Landy. The sale included the former bar, one of three vacant buildings, and empty lots on Cass between Charlotte and Peterboro streets.
The vacant Gold Dollar was a beer garden in the 1930s, that had become an underground gay bar by the 1960s, said Elias Khalil, a longtime neighborhood resident, business owner and co-author of “Detroit’s Cass Corridor,” a book exploring the history of the neighborhood.
“It was very much a drag queen bar,” Khalil said. “It operated that way during the ’ 70s until probably the late ’80s.”
In 1996, the building was reopened by a young entrepreneur Neil Yee as a bar and experimental performance space that kept the Gold Dollar name. It became one of the centers of the city’s ga-
In 1996, the Gold Dollar became one of the centers of the city’s garage rock revival scene. The White Stripes debuted at the small club in 1997.