For the first time in decades, a bustle fills the halls of Building 50’s north end – and The Ticker has an exclusive look inside.
The building is the centerpiece of the former Traverse City State Hospital and now the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. Built in 1885, the hospital was shuttered in 1989.
Boston-based Cordia Senior Living purchased the remaining as yet undeveloped north end from The Minervini Group, who has redeveloped other portions of the building into offices, residences, restaurants and shops. Redevelopment of the north end will mark the completion of the building’s historic renovation.
Cordia at Grand Traverse Commons will consist of 109 private senior residences, a spa, theatre, pub, art studios, and more within the 111,000 square foot club. The $30.7 million project is expected to generate fifty permanent full-time jobs (including the positions of Executive Director and General Manager, which have been filled by locals Linda Price and Nate Glidden, respectively).
A look inside today reveals peeling paint, long hallways and small rooms with the unmistakable feel of an early 20th century asylum (the former lobotomy room will become a two-bedroom suite).
Farmington Hills-based Cunningham-Limp is the general contractor for the (literally) historic undertaking. Project Manager Randy DeRuiter says activity will continue to ramp-up to a peak of 150 workers on-site -- working toward a common goal of an October 2014 opening.
Several local subcontractors are involved in the project, including Advantage Electric, Brayton Excavating, Hallmark Construction, Northern Analytics, Northern Restoration, Old Mission Windows, Quality Environmental, Spence Brothers Construction, and Story Roofing.
The project is no small task, considering:
The structure itself is a giant, old, deteriorating hulk that hasn’t been touched for more than twenty years. Floors and ceilings are virtually gone in certain areas, while sections in the best condition include walls more than two feet thick, with asbestos and lead paint found throughout the building. DeRuiter says many oversized dumpsters will eventually haul away concrete, twisted metal and rubbish – “hundreds of them, easy.”
The expectations for speed and quality are aggressive. Just twelve months from now, the space will showcase one of the most upscale and expansive senior living complexes in the Midwest. When asked about the pace of presales, Cordia CEO Karen Anderson says "early interest is very strong."
Mere reconstruction is one thing, but this project – like any redevelopment at the Grand Traverse Commons – must adhere to very strict historic preservation guidelines set and enforced by the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office. Following site visits and reviews of construction plans, the State has mandated that Cunningham-Limp maintain the style of any “historically important” features. Hundreds of new windows must replicate the original “mutton” pattern; a wood railing common through all hallways must be kept and restored when possible, or replicated when not; no new bricks will be introduced into the project, as those from former chimneys are being cleaned and re-used.
A groundbreaking ceremony will be held this Wednesday at the site.
Click on the image at top to get an inside glimpse of Building 50’s north end today – and how it will appear once redeveloped as Cordia at Grand Traverse Commons.