What To Watch In 2016

Could 2016 be the year of the tall building in downtown Traverse City? The TCBN thinks so.

Two projects presented in 2015 have sights set on altering the building skyline in the core business district – should a lot of pieces fall into place.

River West – The two 96-foot buildings proposed for the corner of Pine and Front have cleared early legal challenges to score a special land use permit, but there’s still a long way to go on this one. The $45 million project is expected to bring 162 residential units – including 64 affordable housing apartments – and 25,000 square feet of commercial and restaurant space to downtown Traverse City.
But the project has divided the community. Proponents, including the Traverse City Area Chamber of Commerce and the Traverse Area Association of Realtors, laud the plan, in particular its affordable housing component. Opponents argue the development – specifically its height – is out of character with the rest of the commercial district. Legal appeals are in the works and the TCBN expects this spirited debate to carry on for many more months.

Park Place Hotel – In 1930, the completion of the 10-story tower made the hotel the tallest building in Traverse City. But a major project could (if a lot of moving parts and brownfield funding fall into place) once again dramatically change this corner of downtown.
A $50 million, four-phase, development was proposed to city and county officials last April by Park Place owners Regency Midwest Ventures – to include demolition of the dome to make room for a conference center, other upgrades in the hotel itself, as well as residential and commercial projects on adjacent properties – all tied together as a major brownfield redevelopment.

One of those projects is a mixed-use, 99.5-foot building for the parcel adjacent to the dome. The Brownfield Development Authority is expected to receive a formal application for the entire project this month.

Projects Wrapping Up

Tall buildings aside, earth-moving equipment, cranes, scaffolding and hard hats have dominated downtown Traverse City for the last year and 2016 promises to be no different.

Washington Place – Some 15 months after breaking ground at the corner of Washington and Cass streets, the first residential and commercial tenants of the five-story building are readying to move in. Professional offices are taking two of the three street level office spaces – a local office for financial firm Charles Schwab and Traverse City architect Ray Kendra (one is still available). The remaining floors are comprised of condominiums – ranging in size from just under 1,000 square feet to more than 3,000. All but one of the 24 residences was sold as of mid-December. It is expected that all the owners will be moved in by May. The building’s total footprint is 75,000 square feet, with 47,000 square feet of living/work space.

Uptown Riverfront & Uptown Cityside Townhomes

Four of the five townhomes nearing completion in Phase 1 are sold. Two of the five riverfront townhomes under construction in Phase 2 are sold and one of the five Cityside live-above-work lofts fronting on State Street is sold with construction expected to commence in the spring. Midtown Development broke ground in October 2014 and expects to complete all phases by late fall 2016.

Others to keep an eye on:

200 River Place: Developer Great Lakes Central Properties hopes to break ground in the spring on the five-story, mixed-use building (between J &S Hamburg and the Traverse City Record-Eagle) on W. Front. The project features 12,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on the street level, 25,000 square feet of commercial/office space on the second floor and 47 luxury residential units above. Realtor Andrew Koons of Coldwell Banker Schmidt said 200 River Place is at 10 percent reservations and is in “confidential negotiations” for the 5,666 square-foot restaurant space.

537 Bay Street: A residential project at the former TBA Credit Union headquarters across from West Bay will feature 15 units in a pair of connected four-story buildings. Each building will be roughly 13,500 square feet. The project is being led by Mansfield Land Use Consultants.

Read what else the TCBN thinks will make news in 2016 in the January print issue, now on newsstands around town.