$2.2M land buy tied to Il­itches

Va­cant build­ings, empty lots in Cass Cor­ri­dor pur­chased in 2015

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY LOUIS AGUILAR The Detroit News

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-

Max Or­tiz / The Detroit News

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.

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