Northern Assets: Traverse City, the Next Cool Place

This city by the bay is thriving on an attention-grabbing elixir of backyard adventure, nightlife and culture. Several years back Outside magazine named Traverse one of “10 Best Adventure Hot Spots in the United States” for its world-class sailing, kayaking, biking and skiing—stuff most folks around this town take for granted. Last fall Mother Earth News chimed in, naming it one of “9 Great Places You’ve Never Heard Of,” for, among many reasons, the four-year-old Traverse City Film Festival. Truth is, the News was a little late on the uptake. Michael Moore, this town’s unofficial one-dude P.R. firm (beam me up from Timber Lanes Bowling, Larry King), has been proclaiming Traverse City’s greatness since he rolled into town to launch that film fest.

From the vibrant State Theatre redux (Michael, thanks again) to a swank new sushi bar and blocks of cool cafes, restaurants and boutiques, Traverse City is its own version of the Magnificent Mile. New, urban-esque loft-living spaces for sale on downtown’s Front Street are hot spin-offs of all this vitalization. Here’s how to live it up in Traverse City:

Red Ginger: Second floor (1,450 square feet) and third floor (3,500 square feet) unfinished living spaces atop Front Street. Amenities include views of Grand Traverse Bay, Boardman River and city rooftops. Count, too, original brick from this circa 1890 building, plus the hip, Asian-inspired Red Ginger bar and restaurant downstairs, and the State Theatre next door. Second floor unit, $295,000; Third floor unit, $595,000. Bill Stireman, 231-929-4427, stireman.com.

Penthouses @ 101: On the corner of Front and Park, just a bookstore away from Red Ginger, these two stories of penthouses (water or city, and water and city views) are yet to be built, as is the case with the three levels of commercial space they’ll sit above. Collectively, the new compound is called 101 North Park, and it’s not too soon to put your money down on one of the ten available units—two have already sold. The space is unfinished, but part of the price (based on a $40 per square foot equation) goes to finishing the units. Units start at $330,000.  Lynne Moon, 233-933-9590, 101northpark.com.

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