PJ’s Lager House in Corktown may soon have a new owner.
Paul “PJ” Reeder, owner of the live music bar and restaurant at 1254 Michigan Ave., said Tuesday that he has a buyer under contract for the building. The buyer is Alex Riley, owner of the building next door that houses the James Oliver Coffee Company.
“Alex has shown a real interest in the property for a long time…” Ryder said of the deal, first reported by the Metro Times. “He made a couple of offers and I declined over time. He came back with a question and accepted my counter and I said, ‘OK, I won’t drop it.’
Ryder, 68, put PJ Lager House up for sale in 2019 for $2.2 million. He declined to comment on the purchase price, but said it was close to his asking price.
He said he expects the sale to close by the end of September.
Riley declined to comment Tuesday.
Ryder said he talked to Riley about his business plans, though he couldn’t tell him.
“He plans to run PJ as he’s been doing it for a while,” Ryder said. “He asked his booking agent to book bands and shows. He gave me no indication that he wanted to change what PJ was. The only thing I can think of is that he wants to be bigger and better.
Ryder expressed his feelings about the sale.
“When the offer came, I stepped back and looked at him and said, ‘This is all you asked for and you got it and you’re getting older and think about your future.’ “And I took it. My wife never gives a damn about anything unless I tell her what to do. Then she told me that it made her very happy. She is ready to spend some time with a retired husband rather than a working husband.
Ryder is married to former Detroit News photojournalist Donna Terek.
The former record store owner says he was lucky to buy the long-standing Irish pub in 2007.
“When I think about the fact that I picked up that property in Corktown years ago for $350,000, people told me I was crazy when anyone thought Corktown would do anything,” he said. “And my timing was perfect and I couldn’t have done better.”
Ryder said he’s had the pleasure of hosting several bands that have gone on to play bigger venues like Little Caesars Arena. There are shows booked during the summer.
“I consider myself lucky to be able to live the dream of owning a rock and roll bar and putting on music every night and letting people enjoy the life we’ve put on them,” he said. “Thank you. I’d say it’s the best thing ever. I am grateful to still be alive.”