• Housing North

Commongrounds, a Real Estate Cooperative in Traverse City

The Commongrounds Cooperative Building is a mixed-use four-story building on the corner of 8th street and Boardman Avenue in Traverse City. The mixed-use development is one of several projects in Traverse City that will bring more workforce housing – residential units geared at individuals in the “missing middle” of income levels – to the region. Construction is slated to break ground in the fall of 2020 and it is anticipated to be complete by late 2021 or early 2022. Kate Redman is the project director and the property is owned by a group of community investors, with construction of both projects overseen by Cunningham Limp.

According to the Ticker article on June 10th, 2020 Commongrounds has raised funds totaling $1.37 million from 132 investors in a unique cooperative model that emphasizes community investment and tenant ownership in the property. “The median investment was $2,000, and the distribution of people who invested was even in genders and ages over the age of 30,” Redman says. “We were successful in being able to attract a lot of people who might not normally think of themselves as investors and have them be able to invest in a real estate project.”

“Our focus is food, family, arts, and wellness, and integrating owners and activities around those things,” says Redman. There are plans for a performing arts venue and space for early childhood education The Anchor tenants for the building include Higher Grounds Trading Company and Iron Fish Distillery, which will share a communal bar and café space adjoined by a food hall – a new addition to the project. There is a long line of additional tenants who have signed up to share office space at the property, including the Boardman Review, Building Bridges With Music, Commonplace Law, Norte, Parallel Solutions, SEEDS, Taste the Local Difference, Traverse City Track Club, and United Way.

Along with commercial tenants, the building’s upper floors will host 24 rental units, with approximately 75% of the housing units in the building are reserved for workforce housing serving people earning 60%-100% of area median income. “We want it to be affordable for the people working downtown, so they can actually live where they work,” says Redman.

Breakdown of funding for this $15M project:

To learn more about the project, visit the Commongrounds website:

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