Posted on December 18, 2017
By Ross Boissoneau | Dec. 18, 2017
You read lots of news here (first) throughout 2017, but much has developed since we first reported some stories. So today and tomorrow (Dec. 18 and 19), we revisit Ticker stories to update them with what’s new.
Rail study to announce results next year
In February we reported on an upcoming passenger rail study that would evaluate the feasibility of running regular train service between Traverse City and Ann Arbor. We’ve now learned that results from that study will be announced by June, according to James Bruckbauer of the Groundwork Center. “The number one (query) from the public was connecting to Traverse City” from the south, says Bruckbauer.
Bruckbauer says the fact the railroads still own the tracks makes it much more possible. “The consultants will help us determine the next steps,” he says, including whether the operating entity should be a for-profit or non-profit and where the train should stop. The tracks go as far north as Petoskey, and go through Kingsley, Cadillac, Clare, Mt. Pleasant, Alma, and Ann Arbor, where they connect with other lines to East Lansing, Port Huron, Detroit and Chicago.
Chorus shows off in Vegas
For the Grand Traverse Show Chorus, the opportunity to perform in Las Vegas was a reward for finishing first in the regionals, which we noted in our October story. “We definitely came home on a high from our experience on the international stage,” says Jill Watson, the group’s director. Though the group achieved the highest regional score among the five finalists, it placed fourth in the finals. The winning group hails from Sweden, according to longtime member Marsha Minervini. She also noted that the competition came just a week after the mass shooting, and the group was among those that sang at various Vegas locales to first responders and others. “We sang in three different places. There were lots of tears and lots of hugs,” she says.
Climbing enthusiasts ready crowdfunding for new facility
Our October story on the purchase of 2.9 acres on M-72 west of Traverse City by Nancy and Larry Bordine earmarked for a climbing facility precipitated great interest among the climbing community. “We have been getting lots of excellent contacts as we travel down this road,” says Nancy Bordine. The group has settled on a slogan, incorporating the newly chosen name for the facility: Myself, My Challenge, MI Summit. The next step, says Bordine, is raising funds and greater awareness of the group’s plans. “We’re collecting information and will soon establish a landing page for crowdfunding,” she says. They will try to raise $250,000 for the building and equipment. Currently there is a 13-member steering committee, which will determine how to move forward and who will be on the board. “The center will be run by the board, which will set its operating procedures.”
Seniors coasting for free on BATA
Kelly Dunham, executive director of BATA, is pleased with the response to its free ride program for seniors. The Ticker reported on the COAST (Commission on Aging Senior Transit) pilot program between BATA and the Commission on Aging last month. The program was unanimously approved for funding by county commissioners, and in the first two weeks provided over 50 rides. “It runs twice a week, and in four days we had a total of 54 rides with 20 unduplicated riders,” says Dunham.
She says the response is in line with what was expected, and she is hopeful the program will continue to see growth. “The first two weeks are a small snapshot,” she says. The program will be reviewed after 30 days by the COA and BATA, and in 90 days by the county commission. Dunham says the ridership has been about evenly split between medical and personal needs, such as shopping. “It’s improved the quality of life,” she says.
Posted on December 6, 2017
By Beth Milligan | Dec. 5, 2017
Independent Bank Corporation (IBC) announced Monday it is acquiring Traverse City State Bank.
According to a press release announcing the news, Traverse City State Bank will be consolidated into the IBC family and operate under the Independent Bank name, along with four other branch locations. At least two senior leaders of Traverse City State Bank – CEO Connie Deneweth and President and CFO Ann Bollinger – will continue on under the reorganization.
In a statement, Deneweth said: “We are very excited to join the Independent Bank family. We share a commitment to community banking, valuing our employees and serving our customers. This combination significantly enhances our capabilities including, larger lending limits, an expanded loan and deposit product mix, and more automated services. We believe this partnership is in the best interests of our customers and shareholders.”
Brad Kessel, president and CEO of IBC, said the deal would strengthen his company’s current franchise and support its “growth in the attractive Traverse City market with full-service banking through five locations.”
“We are excited to welcome the Traverse City State Bank team and together create an even stronger bank for the Michigan communities that we serve,” Kessel said. “We are pleased that Connie Deneweth will continue to lead the northern Michigan market. She is a respected business leader in the Traverse City area who will make a positive contribution to our organization. In addition, Ann Bollinger will lead the development of our wealth management services in Northern Michigan. Connie and Ann have built an exceptional bank with a strong foundation.”
The deal is expected to close in the first part of 2018. Subject to the merger terms, which were unanimously approved by both companies’ boards, Traverse City State Bank shareholders will receive 1.1166 shares of IBC common stock for each outstanding share of TCSB common stock, or 2.71 million shares of IBCP common stock in the aggregate. The transaction is valued at approximately $63.24 million, or 206.4 percent of Traverse City State Bank’s tangible book value as of September 30.
Posted on October 16, 2017
Tom Hignite, owner of Miracle HomeBuilders in Milwaukee, plays music during his open houses and tours, but he’s careful that his song choices fit the home’s vibe.
“It’s trying to create a sense that goes with the home,” Hignite told realtor.com®. “With a contemporary home, a lot of times it’s New Age … [it] sounds almost Zen-like. If it’s an older home, mansion-like, we’ll want to have classical music, maybe piano and violin music.” A property in an urban neighborhood may benefit from some jazz, he adds.
Researchers from Australia investigated whether music can truly turn a shopper into a buyer in studies conducted in 2015. Researchers found that study participants made meal choices that corresponded with the background music they heard. In a second part of the study, music also was found to make people want to spend more money than if no music was being played. Therefore, researchers concluded that music can add more perceived value to a product.
“Having some soft, soothing music playing at an open house does help with the sale,” Michelle Galli, a listing agent with Century 21 M&M in Los Banos, Calif., told realtor.com®. “It gives the prospect a calm, relaxing feeling … so they can picture themselves in the home in serenity.”
But the music choice is key, real estate pros say. You don’t want anything too loud and distracting, but you also don’t want anything too soft like “elevator” music, Hignite says. Instrumental jazz tends to be a good choice, agents say. For more insights on music choices, visit realtor.com®.
Posted on July 26, 2017
Rent vs. Own? The Best Option in Each State
GOBankingRates analyzed the cost of renting versus owning a home in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Researchers looked at estimated rent prices for all homes listed on a real estate website. It then calculated the estimated monthly mortgage to own a home in each state, based on the median list price of homes, a 20 percent down payment, and a 30-year fixed-rate loan.
Source: “The 2017 Cost of Renting vs. Owning a Home in Every State,” GoBankingRates.com (July 24, 2017)
Posted on July 19, 2017
Note that this information is outdated.
Totally remodeled 3 BR 2 Bath 2100+ sq. ft. year round home or weekend cottage! 75 ft. of private all sports lake frontage w/ dock included. Home boasts a bright open floor plan-tons of windows to capture the lake views from almost every room (sunrise/moonrise views), tile, maple hardwood & cork flooring, cathedral ceilings, huge living and family rooms w/ gas fireplaces, wrap around deck, mostly finished walk out basement (potential to make this into guest/in law apt. if desired), furniture negotiable, natural gas, municipal sewer, hi speed cable internet, and 32×48 drive through garage for cars + all the toys. All set on .40 acre wooded lot on very quiet street and walking distance into village & elementary school. Snow mobile trails just down street, 1000’s of acres of state land approx. 1/2 mile away. Easy drive to Traverse City, Cadillac, Kalkaska & more!
When/Where: 516 Howard Street Alley Fife Lake Mi 49633
Posted on July 17, 2017
By Beth Milligan | July 17, 2017
Traverse City commissioners will consider approving a rezoning request for a new housing development on State Street and putting a proposed solar energy deal on hold to consider a second proposal at their 7pm meeting tonight (Monday) at the Governmental Center.
State Street Developer
A development group hopes to fill a niche by building housing affordable to Traverse City’s “median household income” at a new townhouse site at 415 East State Street (pictured).
Old Silver Maple LLC – consisting of partners Chris Bzdok, Scott Howard, Ross Hammersley, and Colleen Mulligan – is proposing to convert the single home on the property into a six-unit, multi-family building. Each townhouse unit will offer two stories of living space and exterior windows on at least two sides. All units will have 1.5 baths, and four of the six units will have two bedrooms. Units will have sheltered parking for one car, include either a covered porch or balcony, and share a common basement with separate storage areas. None of the units will be stacked, according to developers.
Old Silver Maple is seeking city approval to rezone the site from R-15 to R-29, which would allow the developer to build up to seven units instead of the four allowed by right on the site. The rezoning would not change the height or setback requirements on the property. In discussions with city planning commissioners, developers agreed to limit construction to six units and to use architectural design standards that reflect the city’s master plan and surrounding Boardman Neighborhood aesthetic. Based on those conditions, planning commissioners forwarded the request to city commissioners with a recommendation to approve the rezoning. City staff are also supporting the request.
In a memo to city officials, developers noted that while Traverse City “is experiencing robust development of new condominium projects in town…the majority of new units are being offered at prices ranging from $350,000 to upwards of $1 million.” The group also pointed out that multiple apartment complexes are coming online in the region, helping to address a rental shortage. “In the space between high-end condominiums and new apartments, there appears to be little new housing under development in town that can be purchased with typical household incomes generated by the local economy,” the group wrote.
Old Silver Maple intends to sell at least five of its State Street units, with the sixth potentially used as a long-term rental. While developers didn’t specify an intended price range for the units, they indicated their goal was to cater to full-time residents in Traverse City’s median income range of $50,586.
Howard, one of the development partners, is the husband of City Commissioner Michele Howard. She told The Ticker she plans to recuse herself from tonight’s vote and discussion on the rezoning request.
Second Solar Deal
City commissioners were set to vote on a proposed solar energy deal with Heritage Sustainable Energy tonight – but may end up tabling the proposal to buy time to consider a second proposal.
Traverse City Light & Power (TCL&P) has already approved the initial deal with developer Marty Lagina of Heritage Sustainable Energy, who is offering to build a one-megawatt solar array on property next to his company’s wind turbine at the corner of M-72 and Gray Road. TCL&P’s approval is contingent on city commissioners also agreeing to the proposal, which they were set to vote on tonight. If approved, the deal would see Lagina sell solar energy to Traverse City to help the city meet its goal of powering all city operations with 100 percent renewable energy by 2020.
The project would get the city nearly a quarter of the way toward its goal, but would require the city to pay a “green rate,” or subsidy, buying the energy at 11.25 cents per kilowatt-hour. That price is an increase from the average market rate of 8.9 cents. The deal is expected to cost Traverse City $25,000 annually for the next 20 years.
In a memo to commissioners Thursday, City Manager Marty Colburn said another company has come forward and offered to “supply the city with Michigan-based wind and solar energy at the capacities needed to sustain the city.” The company guaranteed “this supply by September 2017,” Colburn wrote. He also said the deal would “eliminate the proposed green rate surcharge” required under Heritage’s offer. Colburn asked commissioners for more time to research the second offer. City commissioners have until September 15 to make a decision on the Heritage deal under terms approved by TCL&P.
While Colburn didn’t identify the company behind the competing offer, TCL&P Exeuctive Director Tim Arends tells The Ticker the proposal was made by Spartan Renewable Energy, an affiliate of Wolverine Power Cooperative. He says TCL&P boad members were aware of the company’s interest in an energy deal but that Spartan Renewable Energy hadn’t submitted any formal type of proposal to the utility, prompting the board to move ahead with the concrete offer from Lagina on the table.
Spartan Renewable Energy is “interested in making an offer…and have claimed it would not require a green rate or subsidy,” Arends says. “Those are the fine details that need to be worked out. Their calculations may not be the same as ours.” Arends says the company would likely provide the city with power from both existing infrastructure and new infrastructure to be developed locally. Because TCL&P has already approved a contract with Lagina, Arends says his board will wait until city commissioners make a decision on one or both offers before revisiting the issue.
Posted on June 9, 2017
Housing Coming To Thirteenth Street?
June 9, 2017
Posted on May 30, 2017
Grocery Shopping Without The Store: My Shipt Experience
May 30, 2017
Posted on May 23, 2017