Historic Michigan Venue Where Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd Performed On The Market For $5M
An iconic music hall that once hosted some of the biggest rock bands of all time is up for sale in Detroit.
Interested? The listing says, "Don't let the list price intimidate you. The seller will consider all intelligent offers."
OK... so how much are we talking here?
The Grande Ballroom at 8952 W. Grand River is listed for $5,000,000.
The 16,434 sq. foot building was designed in 1928 by local engineer and architect Charles N. Agree and served as a multi-use space, with retail business on the first floor, and a large dance hall upstairs. In those early years, it was known as a jazz and big band dancehall.
In the 60s it became what the Detroit Free Press calls "Detroit’s most famous counterculture hot spot", hosting classic and psychedelic rock bands.
According to Detroit Metro Times,
Back in the days of sex, drugs, and, rock 'n' roll, the ballroom hosted acts like Led Zepplin, Pink Floyd, Janis Joplin, and even John Coltrane and Sun Ra. MC5 became regulars on the stage and recorded its 1969 debut album 'Kick Out the Jams' there, and in recent years a mural of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame-nominated band's guitarist Wayne Kramer was painted on the side of the building.
The Grande's last show was on New Year's Eve 1972, according to the Detroit Historical Society. Following that, "the building was seldom used and, much like the neighborhood around it, fell into neglect."
In 2018, the long-vacant building was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
And now, it's on the market. What will happen to the Grande Ballroom? Detroit Metro Times doesn't sound too positive about the building surviving:
While the future of the building isn’t clear, the recent fate of several historic buildings in metro Detroit doesn’t give us much hope. Much of the news these days is starting to feel like Groundhog Day, an endless déjà vu of buildings being torn down and replaced with retail and condos. (*cough* Royal Oak’s Main Art Theatre *cough*)
I guess we'll see if any "intelligent" offers come in and then what the new owners decide to do... If they were to restore it, it sounds like they'd have their work cut out for them: According to the listing, "The building needs a full restoration."
The Detroit Historical Society gives a more graphic description of the building's decay,
The Spanish-tiled roof has long since failed, allowing water to eat large holes in the Grande's hallowed dance floor. Broken windows allowed rain and snow to transform its plaster ceilings into concrete-like, uneven mounds on the floor. Souvenir seekers have busted off chunks of the Moorish columns in the ballroom. Vandals have punched through walls and smashed the toilets. Scrappers have looted it of its plumbing and valuable metals. The storefronts have become a dumping ground. It is an undignified fate for a hallowed site of music history, and its chances of restoration are slim to none.
Despite that dismal perspective, according to Detroit Metro Times, the Grande Ballroom was owned by Chapel Hill Missionary Church at the time (and still may be) was approved for restoration back in 2019.
If you'd like to learn more about the historic concert hall, the book, The Grande Ballroom: Detroit's Rock n Roll Palace, was published in 2016. There's also the 2012 documentary Louder Than Love, The Grande Ballroom Story.
In 2020 we told you about another legendary Detroit concert venue up for sale: The Majestic Theatre. While it closed temporarily during the pandemic (as all Michigan venue's did), it has since reopened and many upcoming shows on the books. The listing for it however, is still active. Take a look inside the Majestic in the gallery below.