Traverse City News and Events

Developer Abandons 100-Foot Building Plans; Will Build To 60 Feet Instead

By Beth Milligan | July 21, 2019

Traverse City developer Tom McIntyre will not appeal a court ruling blocking his chances of building a 100-foot building on State Street, telling The Ticker he will move forward instead with a 60-foot building on the site next to the Park Place Hotel.

McIntyre lost a lawsuit last month in which he sued the City of Traverse City over Proposal 3, the city charter amendment requiring a public vote on buildings over 60 feet high. McIntyre asked the courts to declare Proposal 3 illegal, saying it unfairly interfered with owners' property rights. McIntyre had already gone through the city's outlined approval process for his proposed 100-foot-tall Peninsula Place building (pictured), receiving planning commission approval for the project and then going to voters for their approval last November. But the proposal was rejected at the polls, leaving either a lawsuit to overturn Proposal 3 or repeated future ballot attempts as McIntyre's only options to continue with a 100-foot building.

After Judge Thomas Power ruled against McIntyre in June, the developer had 30 days to file an appeal. That deadline passed Friday, with McIntyre telling The Ticker he "debated very seriously" appealing but ultimately decided to move forward with a redesigned building just under 60 feet, which won't require voter approval.

"If we had decided to pursue (an appeal), we would have won, because the law is clearly on our side," he says. "Judge Power unfortunately made a bad ruling. We could have gone all the way to the Supreme Court, but we didn't know if it would take another one year, two years, three years. In the next three years, the economy could totally change in a way that could negatively impact developments, including ours. We thought it made sense to move ahead (with a redesigned building)."

McIntyre says the project will feature all residential condominiums, with parking and a lobby on the ground floor and another potential underground level of parking. All of the remaining upper floors would feature condos. Architect Alexander Bogaerts of Birmingham is overseeing the design, with a more detailed building concept and renderings expected to be finalized in the next five to six weeks. "Then we will begin marketing the building, and we hope to begin construction next May," McIntyre says.

McIntyre says he believes his will not be the last lawsuit brought against the city over Proposal 3, predicting another developer could sue in the future. "I wouldn't be surprised at all if somebody else challenged (Proposal 3)," McIntyre says. "We laid the groundwork." He notes the city itself could soon face challenges with the Proposal 3 process; several proposed designs for a new city parking deck on West Front Street call for the building to be higher than 60 feet, requiring a potential public vote.

Pictured: Conceptual rendering of the former proposed 100-foot-tall Peninsula Place project. Photo credit: J. Scott Smith Visual Designs, Inc.

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