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State, local investments will support year-round rentals in Traverse City

The building will be located on West Front Street next to the Boardman River.
Courtesy of GLC Northern Michigan Pine, LLC
The building will be located on West Front Street next to the Boardman River.

The state has approved a $2.9 million investment for a new development that will provide year-round rentals in Traverse City’s downtown area.

The four-story building will bring 91 mixed-income apartments to the city, which has struggled to find housing for its workforce, as units are increasingly turned into short-term rentals.

Millions of dollars of support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the city of Traverse City and the Downtown Development Authority will go towards supporting the creation of year-round rentals at 309 West Front Street. The state investment will also help cover the extensive pollution on the site, which is located next to the Boardman River.

Michele Wildman is the senior vice president of community development at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. She says without housing for in-town workers, local economies won’t be able to function.

“Ultimately business needs places for where talent wants to live and has housing units that are attainable,” Wildman says.

About 15% of the building’s units will be for low-income tenants, with the rest set at market rate rents and commercial space on the first floor.

Housing North, a non-profit focused on regional housing solutions, says the area still isn’t increasing housing fast enough to support demand. A recent report from Networks Northwest shows northwest lower Michigan is projected to need thousands of rental units in the next five years.

Taylor Wizner covers heath, tourism and other news for Interlochen Public Radio.