Traverse City News and Events

County Commissioners Approve Downtown Deck Deal

Aug. 18, 2016

Grand Traverse County commissioners Wednesday reversed a July 6 vote and approved a proposed land deal that will pave the way for a new parking deck in downtown Traverse City.

The deal will allow Traverse City to purchase property at 145 West Front Street for $1.3 million from Great Lakes Central Properties (GLCP) to build a public parking deck. GCLP is offering to sell the land to the city below market rate in exchange for securing funding for environmental clean-up at a second property across the street at 124 West Front. That site is planned to be a five-story, mixed-use development, but will first require an estimated $1.4 million in contamination remediation. The parking deck deal is contingent on both city and county officials accepting a $700,000 Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) loan through the local brownfield authority to help pay for the clean-up.

After a county commission vote to accept the DEQ loan failed by a 3-4 margin at a July 6 meeting, commissioners Wednesday revisited the deal and reversed their decision, approving the loan by a 5-2 vote. Commissioners Christine Maxbauer and Ron Clous remained opposed to the motion. Commissioners who changed their position – including Bob Johnson and Dan Lathrop – cited a better understanding of the complex financing mechanisms of the deal, support for a public deck and a desire to get the vacant property at 124 West Front Street back on the tax rolls as the reason for their reversal.

“I do think there is the need for that parking deck,” said Johnson. “I also believe that without moving forward on this, you’re still going to have a hole in the ground that no one’s ever going to develop. So for that reason, I will support this.”

County commissioners Wednesday also passed a resolution for support for a new pilot project called Project Cherry Tree aimed at attracting veterans services to northern Michigan, and approved the restructuring of the county’s economic development corporation (EDC) board.

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