Live the new urbanism dream with Northern Michigan real estate that lets you walk to restaurants, galleries, shopping and entertainment. Here's what you should know, included some insight from local contractor, Paul Maurer.
A place right in the heart of it all—walk to cafes, shops, restaurants, theater, concerts, parades. Smaller spaces are efficient and invite downsizing, empty nesting, and simplified living, while amenities and finishes are upscale. And maintenance? What maintenance? You’re here to live.
Location: Infill properties tend to bloom right in the heart of the action—downtown or waterfront, and often, both—so your location is likely to be amazing. Amenities: These aren’t usually budget properties. Expect high-end finishes, top-of-the-line appliances, attention to architectural detail and design, as well as waterfront privileges, underground/secured parking, concierge-type services.
Close neighbors. Most infills of single-family homes involve very small footprints and lots; other properties are multi-family developments, so you’ll have neighbors above, below, left and right; outdoor living space is often reduced to rooftop areas or balconies only. Price: Significantly higher prices per square foot reflect cost of prime property or retrofitting historic buildings, and the top-level finishes and services some of the more penthouse-type properties offer. Size: No McMansion-sized living spaces here. Most of these top out at 2,000 square feet, with averages more around the 1,300 square-feet mark. You may live with fewer closets, no basement, and a parking space, not a garage.
Planned communities, such as New Neighborhood Plan, Empire; in-town settings, such as Park 101 in Traverse City; historic districts, such as Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City and above storefronts in Charlevoix, Petoskey; in burgs following “Mainstreet USA” programs such as Boyne City.
“Ask the same questions regarding maintenance and fees you would for a condo. Know that many of these projects offer raw space; find out what architectural services are offered.”
Darling new 2-bedroom storybook cottage on Bay Street in the heart of Harbor Springs. Hardwood floors, main-floor master, detached 1 car garage. $425,000. INFO: GRAHAM REAL ESTATE, 231-526-6251, UNIT 4 BAY STREET COTTAGES.
Luxury condo in new mixed-use project in downtown Traverse City (101 Park). Geothermic heat, underground parking, 2,009 square feet of raw space with bay views; architectural support and build-out allowance. $682,720. INFO:, LYNNE MOON, REAL ESTATE ONE, 231-218-6667. MLS 1709985.
Affordable new-urbanism in Cottage 20 of The Village at Grand Traverse Commons (pictured). This 1-bedroom, 690-square-foot condo has maple and terrazzo floors, granite countertops, modern finishes and 13-foot ceilings. $198,000. INFO: MARSHA MINERVINI, 231-941-1900, MLS 1703121.