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Downtown Traverse City Development Gets a Nod from the State

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Construction will start this spring on a new development project in downtown Traverse City. It’s a project that’s getting millions of dollars in state and local funding.

According to the Governor’s office, “The Michigan Strategic Fund has approved investment for a housing development project to support growth and economic recovery. The project is expected to generate a total capital investment of $25.3 million, create 24 full-time equivalent jobs, and bring much-needed housing to critical neighborhoods in Traverse City.” 

Rendering courtesy of GLC Northern Michigan Pine, LLC and the MEDC

The development is called GLC Northern Michigan Pine, and it’s set for vacant property at 309 West Front Street. Plans include a 4-story project with commercial space and 91 rental units for mixed-incomes.

The Michigan Strategic Fund says $3 (M) million in loan funding comes from the Community Revitalization Program. Traverse City Downtown Development Authority CEO Jean Derenzy says, “Working with Housing North and the City Housing Commission, and all the studies we have had, we know we need more housing in downtown and the city of Traverse City as a whole. But it’s not just one size fits all.”

Derenzy says the Downtown Development Authority is contributing another $3.5 (M) million to the project for infrastructure like sidewalks and bridge repair along the Boardman River. She says the project will bring workforce housing to the area, and also comes with improved access to the Boardman River. The affordable housing units will come with a restriction that qualifying residents earn no more than 80% of median income, and rental prices will reflect that.

The office of the Michigan Strategic Fund also says “the project will bring to life a long-vacant piece of property in Traverse City, serving as a cornerstone to West Front St. and providing a much-needed housing option in downtown to both retain and attract talent. The project will also further enhance a sense of place in Traverse City, and by bringing new residents to the downtown, will support existing businesses and drive new economic activity in the area.

“Traverse City is supporting the project with approval of the local portion of an existing brownfield work plan valued at $243,700 and a Downtown Development Authority contribution of $3.5 million to support the creation of public sidewalk systems, streetscape, front street bridge repair, buried power lines and the long-term creation of a new public parking deck.”  

Governor Gretchen Whitmer also commented on the news. “Investments in housing infrastructure are crucial as we build our economy back better from the pandemic. I welcome any funds that will make a difference in the lives of Michiganders.”

Additionally, Traverse City Mayor Jim Caruthers shared his thoughts on the new project in Downtown Traverse City.

“The Traverse City Commission has been working hard to promote redevelopment of key areas in our downtown that will provide a mix of housing opportunities for our citizens, not just short term vacation rentals,” said Mayor Caruthers. “With our ‘hot’ investment market and the high cost of construction up north, this has proven challenging for building mixed use housing for our downtown workforce. With the assistance from the MEDC, this will help Traverse City to provide the year round housing units this community desperately needs.”

Michigan Senator Wayne Schmidt (R- Traverse City) also commented on the new project, stating, “I really appreciate the support for the city of Traverse City, recognizing that downtown projects are good for all Michiganders.”

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