By Allan Lengel
DETROIT (Deadline Detroit) – Vaughn Derderian, a schmoozer extraordinaire, recalls the FBI raid in May 1971 at the Anchor Bar his dad Leo ran. Agents rounded up about 150 people around Michigan, including Leo and 16 Detroit cops, as part of a $15-million a year gambling ring run out of the Anchor. The news even made the New York Times.
That’s probably one of my favorite stories,” says Derderian, 71, who has plenty more from where that came from.
Now, Derderian and his son, who operate the popular dive bar are writing their final chapter at 450 W. Fort St. They’re cashing in on the downtown comeback and will sell the bar and building to Zaid Elia, whose Metro Detroit properties including Parc in Detroit’s Campus Martius and 220 Merrill in Birmingham. The deal is expected to close in late September.
The price for the site, including retail and office space, isn’t disclosed. It’s likely to be in the low seven figures, based on commercial real estate values downtown lately.
Fortunately, Derderian says, the new owner wants to preserve the legend of the family-owned bar — a magnet for journalists, cops, federal agents, office workers and Wings fans — and its countless stories, some of which will be displayed on walls and menus.