When a Summer Resort Town Finds Year-Round Success

Northern Michigan's "premier summer resort town" finds itself embroiled in a heated development controversy, reflecting that town's changing population.

1 minute read

October 19, 2015, 2:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Matthew Dolan reports on the changing fortunes of Traverse City, Michigan. According to Dolan, "[l]ong a sought-after destination for summer tourists, Traverse City's year-round population, individual wealth and real estate prices have grown in recent years, squeezing out young professionals and others from living in downtown where some condos now top $1 million."

At the center of the debate surrounding the city's newfound success is a controversial mixed-use development proposal at the edge of the city's downtown.

"The housing debate is pitting some longtime residents against a newer, younger population as city leaders weigh the size and scope of extra tall downtown building projects. The height of the proposed towers is needed, developers say, to justify setting aside nearly half of the units for lower-income renters," writes Dolan.

Supporting the project are housing advocates who say that the development's mix of supply will allow more people to move to the city. On the other side are long time residents concerned with the scale of the project.

The article goes on to describe Traverse City as emblematic of several trends found in communities around the country: the need to build housing attractive to a mix of incomes and age groups, as well as a shift toward a less seasonal economy. The article is of feature length, with a lot more detail on the context of the debate and the current conditions in the area. 

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