Detroit’s historic rock venue the Grande Ballroom is up for sale

The long-abandoned music hall hosted performances by classic rock acts like MC5 and Pink Floyd

Apr 6, 2022 at 1:17 pm
click to enlarge Detroit's former Grande Ballroom. - Lee DeVito
Lee DeVito
Detroit's former Grande Ballroom.

Another one of Detroit’s historic buildings could potentially bite the dust.

The abandoned Grande Ballroom is up for sale for a hefty $5,000,000, according to a listing on Jim Shaffer and Associates Realtors that went online this week.

The old-school music hall was a hub for classic and psychedelic rock bands in the 1960s until it closed in 1972. Since then, it’s sat looming like a fading memory of a bygone era.

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 listing shows the venue at 8952 W. Grand River for sale through Dorsett Brokerage Development & Management Group L.

“The building needs a full restoration,” the listing reads. “With the enormous rebirth of the City; development is soon to take place within this corridor of Grandriver [sic]. This is a major project for a serious minded developer who's familiar with large scale projects; thus understanding the history associated with the building and having a vision to restore a monumental piece of Real Estate iconic to the City of Detroit.”

The listing goes on to let potential buyers know they shouldn't be intimidated by the price because the seller will consider all “intelligent officers.” (We’re pretty sure they mean “offers.”)

A real estate agent at Dorsett Brokerage Development & Management Group declined to answer any questions about the listing when we reached out by phone.

Metro Times previously reported the building was owned by Chapel Hill Missionary Church and had just passed inspection for restoration in 2019. A call to the church Wednesday afternoon went unanswered.

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*)

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