History-Themed Cocktail Bar Slated For Downtown Traverse City

History-Themed Cocktail Bar Slated For Downtown

A new history-themed cocktail lounge could soon be headed to downtown Traverse City if city commissioners approve a liquor license for the project Tuesday at their 7pm meeting at the Governmental Center.

Husband-and-wife duo Christine and Taylor Keefe and their friend Glenn Durfee are partners in the new venture, which is set to open at 123 West Front Street (pictured). The property – comprised of two closely adjacent buildings that also house engineering firm Gourdie-Fraser – dates back to the 1800s, with a lengthy and diverse history of businesses at the site. That history made the parcel an ideal fit for the trio, who were searching for the right location to open a bar themed around Traverse City’s past, according to Christine Keefe.

“In New York City, we have a ton of history-themed bars and restaurants,” says Keefe, a native New Yorker. “I didn’t see anything like that in Traverse City. This whole thing is a family business, and my family’s really into history and loves the history of Traverse City. There is an amazing bar scene already, so we wanted to add to that experience and thought history was a great way to do that.”

Tentatively set to be called 123 West Front after the site’s address, the 80-capacity cocktail lounge will highlight Traverse City historical themes – from the antiques-scattered décor to historical photos on the wall to the regionally-inspired cocktail list. “We’re bringing a mixologist from New York City to craft these cocktails that use local ingredients and are created around and named after historic characters and tidbits,” Keefe says. “For example, there used to be a Coca-Cola bottling plant on the property, so we have a Coke cocktail. We’re also going to have classic drinks from throughout the ages.”

The cocktail lounge will feature all house-made bitters and infusions and locally sourced ingredients. In addition to the cocktail list, 123 West Front will feature “a small curated list” of local beers and wines, plus a menu of small plates, according to Keefe. “We’re really going for white-glove service in a comfortable and welcoming environment,” says Keefe. “One of the things I’m excited about is the conversation that happens when you bring neighbors together. I’m hoping we can collect more personal (historical) stories from people…it’s an amazing opportunity to have a creative space.”

The venture – operating under the LLC Lascivious Libations Co. – was recently issued a Grand Traverse County building permit for an $80,000 commercial remodel of the property. Should things proceed smoothly with the build-out and permitting, Keefe says the cocktail lounge could be open by early summer. City commissioners will need to sign off Tuesday on the lounge’s redevelopment liquor license application, which will then go to the state for final approval. While some city officials have recently discussed taking a closer look at the city’s liquor license program and potentially capping the number of licenses downtown, Commissioner Brian Haas says he doesn’t believe the informal talks – which have yet to occur in an official commission setting – should affect projects underway.

“I think the discussion (on the number of licenses) is good and one I’m open to having, but I think we should do that when there isn’t something before us,” Haas says. “(Redevelopment licenses) have been a good tool for downtown. I don’t see any reason to hold something up or block something that’s already in the pipeline.”

Commissioner Gary Howe agrees. “I’m certainly not holding it up just because a few people have concerns, because I haven’t been convinced yet of those concerns or the need to curtail implementation of these licenses,” Howe says. “I think they’ve been successful and have helped some great businesses. I think it might be premature to find ways to curtail development.”

Also on Tuesday’s commission agenda…
City commissioners – who meet Tuesday instead of Monday this week due to President’s Day – will also discuss the following at their meeting:

> Approving a brownfield plan for the Park Place Hotel, which has already received approval from the Grand Traverse County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority and Downtown Development Association. The plan describes $2.6 million in local eligible reimbursement funding in relation to the demolition of the Park Place dome and construction of a new conference center, including just under $1 million to the Park Place for demolition and clean-up costs and $1.6 million to fund three major public improvement projects downtown.

> Holding required public hearings in relation to three grant requests totaling $275,000 for improvements at Hickory Hills. The city will be seeking a Natural Resources Trust Fund grant, Land and Water Conservation Fund grant and Recreation Passport grant from the state for the park, with local matches coming from funds raised by Preserve Hickory. Tuesday’s public hearings are required ahead of an official March 6 commission vote to support the grant applications.

> Considering authorizing over $82,000 for pavement markings and street stripings through the city in 2017. Commissioners previously delayed approving the expenditure, citing a desire for more information from staff about the specific list of projects the funds will cover and how projects are prioritized. City Manager Marty Colburn, City Engineer Tim Lodge, and City Department of Public Works Director Dave Green are expected to address those issues at Tuesday’s meeting.

Study: Small Homes Appreciate Faster



Bigger isn’t necessarily better when it comes to appreciation. In fact, a new study shows that smaller homes likely will offer a bigger percentage return on a home shopper’s investment.

Read more: New Single-Family Homes Are Getting Smaller

A new study conducted by NerdWallet culled three years of listing data from realtor.com® of the 20 of the largest U.S. metro areas and shows that smaller homes, in general, appreciate at a faster rate than larger homes.

Markets can vary greatly, however. In 17 of the 20 metro areas analyzed, listing prices of the smallest 25 percent homes rose faster when calculated as a percentage, according to NerdWallet. The median annual growth rate for the smallest quartile of homes was 8.9 percent from 2013 to 2016, the study showed. The second smallest group of homes had the second-fastest growth rate: a median annual growth of 7.4 percent.

Florida had two of the metro areas that saw the fastest rate of price appreciation among smallest homes. In Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, the smallest quartile of homes appreciated by a whopping 19.5 percent each year from 2013 to 2016. In close second, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater saw its smallest quartiles of homes appreciate by 16.6 percent annually.

Still, while the smallest homes appreciate fastest when viewed as percentage, larger homes appreciate fastest by absolute dollar amount, the study showed. That’s not surprising given a larger home often comes with a heftier price too. Case in point, the smallest homes in the metro areas NerdWallet analyzed saw appreciation, on average, of about $57,535 between 2013 and 2016. Within that same time period, the largest homes saw prices rise, on average, by $99,790.

Richard K. Green, a professor and chair of the Lusk Center for Real Estate at the University of Southern California, says one reason smaller homes are likely appreciating faster is due to less inventory of starter homes available. Buyer demand for starter, smaller homes remains high, however. That could be pushing prices higher, he says.

Source: “Small Homes Can Offer Big Returns,” NerdWallet (Feb. 7, 2017)

Mortgage Rates Move Down Again



For the third consecutive week, fixed-rate mortgages edged down, lowering borrowing costs for buyers and refinancers.

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Jan. 19:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 4.09 percent, with an average 0.5 point, dropping from last week’s 4.12 percent. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.81 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.34 percent, with an average 0.5 point, falling from last week’s 3.37 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.10 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.21 percent, with an average 0.4 point, falling from last week’s 3.23 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 2.91 percent.

Source: Freddie Mac

Century 21 Ad Pinpoints Agent Value



Century 21’s new television campaign focuses on the value of an agent while poking fun at technology that can sometimes be unreliable in its 30-second, fast-paced ad.

The first of four commercials, Not an App,aired during the Golden Globe Awards on NBC Sunday night. Its premise is that the power of human interaction is irreplaceable when it comes to buying or selling a home.

But Century 21 isn’t moving away from technology. On the contrary, it’s focusing more on how sales professionals use digital tools to enhance personal relationships with home buyers and sellers, according to Century 21 chief marketing officer, Cara Whitley.

“We believe that our [agents] earn the trust and affinity of home buyers and sellers better than anyone in the business,” Whitley says.

The brand also recently commissioned a study by Wakefield Research that found 92 percent of millennial home buyers believe it’s important for a real estate agent to get to know them personally before choosing to work with them. Another nine out of 10 surveyed said it’s important for their real estate agent to have significant experience with other home buyers in their age group.

Century 21 has been working on building trust with consumers on behalf of agents since its “Smarter. Bolder. Faster.” campaign. “It’s all about relevance and being relevant from both a consumer and industry standpoint,” Whitley says. “Everything that we do as an organization, including this campaign, seeks to earn and re-earn relevance at every touchpoint with consumers — our tribe of C21 ambassadors — and with those looking for a new place to call home.”

The latest ad also celebrates the company’s sweep of the JD Power awards in all four home buyer and seller categories for the third year in a row.

Century 21’s other spots — Good Luck, Robot; House Call; and Master Juggler — will air during the AFC and NFC championship games, and live digitally online via Century 21’s YouTube channel and social media pages.

— By Erica Christoffer, REALTOR® Magazine

2016 Traverse City Real Estate Stats

Jon Becker -2016 Stats

Associate Broker-Green, SFR, ABR

Quality Service Pinnacle Award 2009-2015

Market/MLS Average              Jon’s Average

Days on Market               183                                               72

Sold % of List price          94.35%                                           97.67%(+3.32%)

*78% of homes I listed sold in 2016 while the MLS average agent only 68% sold*

*Selling them faster and for more $$$ than MLS/Market average

Families Can Get $11,000 More In Loan Funds

Interest rates are inching up and credit can still be hard to get but there is one bright spot for households hoping to buy a home soon: they can get a larger loan now, thanks to recent loan-limit increases for both conforming loans and loans backed by FHA.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) increased the conforming loan limit a few weeks ago, for the first time in 10 years, and it’s now at $424,100 in most markets, up from $417,000.

VRE 59 still

That increase didn’t come about by chance. Among other things, the agency last year heard from NAR on making the limits more responsive to changes in market conditions. “NAR encouraged them to use a number of factors that would create the most favorable result in all communities nationwide and did in fact result in an increase in loan limits,” says Megan Booth, an NAR regulatory policy representative.

As a result of that increase, FHA loan limits will also be going up, because those limits are set as a percentage of the conforming limit. Starting in 2017, borrowers in high-cost areas will be able to get loans as high as $636,150, almost $11,000 more than what they can get this year. That increase is expected to make a big difference for households trying to buy in major metro areas like Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington.

Details of the new loan limits are covered in the latest Voice for Real Estate news video from NAR. Also covered are remarks by Reps. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) on why it’s crucial that lawmakers do no harm to housing next year should Congress take up tax reform and reform of the secondary mortgage market companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Despite being on opposite sides of the aisle, both lawmakers said residential real estate is too important to the health of the U.S. economy for any changes to disrupt home sales. That means lawmakers must tread lightly as they look at whether long-time tax incentives for homeownership, like the mortgage interest deduction, should be touched. It also means any changes to Fannie and Freddie mustn’t reduce investor interest in mortgage-backed securities. “I think [low interest rates on 30-year, fixed rate loans] go away if we don’t have a government insurance program,” Sherman said at a meeting NAR hosted last week with S&P Global on the state of homeownership.

The video also includes remarks by NAR President Bill Brown on the nomination of neurosurgeon Ben Carson to be secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and what to expect in home sales in 2017. Access the video.


Price dropped on B2-A Coster Rd in Springfield Township, Fife Lake

Photo Link

Near River, Lake, State Land

Announcing a price drop
on B2-A Coster Rd, a



8900 USD .

3.18 Surveyed Acres

MLS® 1823461

Property information

Single Story For Sale in Kalkaska Township, Kalkaska County

Photo Link
Near Downtown & River

•  1,048 sq. ft., 1 bath, 3 bdrm single story$69,900. Updated 2014 /Double Lot
MLS® #1822310  

– 3 BR 1 Bath on edge of town with downtown shopping, restaurants, school, hospital and Boardman River all within a couple minute drive. Home features large living room, laundry/mud room, new interior and drain field 2014, back deck plus covered front porch & storage shed set on 2 wooded lots with a country feel. (potential to sell extra lot if desired) Cable TV/high speed internet and natural gas available. All for under 70k!

Property information

1 1/2 Story For Sale in Centerville Township, Leelanau County

Photo Link
Near Lakes & Sleeping Bear Dunes

•  1,375 sq. ft., 2 bath, 3 bdrm 1 1/2 story$95,000. Fixer Upper
MLS® #1825632  

– 3 BR 1.5 Bath 1375 sq. ft. with 2 storage sheds, kids playground area on nice wooded lot at end of cul-de-sac with Sugar Loaf & golfing just around the corner. Home needs TLC but features main floor laundry room & master , nice bright open floor plan for main living are w/cathedral ceilings, stone fireplace/woodstove & most appliances. Short Drive to several lakes, Lake Michigan & Sleeping Bear Dunes & approx. 20-25 minutes to Traverse City. Great opportunity to make it your own and build some equity. Sold ” As Is” . Will not pass FHA, RD, VA financing

Property information

Traverse City – East Bay Plaza Expanding; Other Business Openings, Closings

East Bay Plaza Expanding; Other Business Openings, Closings

November 22, 2016
East Bay Plaza Expanding; Other Business Openings, Closings

East Bay Plaza is undergoing another major expansion, a new event center is opening in Traverse City, Interlochen Golf Club has a new owner (plus a new name and restaurant) – and several store changes downtown and at the Grand Traverse Mall await holiday shoppers in The Ticker’s latest look at local business news.

East Bay Plaza Expansion
Another 9,000 square feet of retail space and close to 100 more parking spots are coming soon to East Bay Plaza on Munson Avenue, according to developer Tom McIntyre.

McIntyre is in the process of relocating the property’s water retention system underground – a move that will free up surface space for two new buildings and expanded parking. “Once that whole system is underground, we’ll begin construction of the new buildings, which will essentially be identical to the one we built last year,” he says, referring to the most recent addition to East Bay Plaza housing Biggby Coffee and Domino’s Pizza.

McIntyre says the two new buildings will be fully completed and open by June 1. “We’ve got significant interest or leases in place already on 80 percent of the space,” he says, declining to identify tenants. “It’ll be full by the time the buildings open.”

The new construction will “pretty well complete any build-outs” at East Bay Plaza, according to McIntyre. “We still have plans to improve the façade on the old part of the plaza.” The finished shopping center will offer 122,000 square feet of retail space and roughly 430 parking spaces.

Grand Traverse Event Center
A local development group hopes to fill a market gap left by the closure of Traverse City event venues including InsideOut Gallery and Ecco.

Cold Water Development has purchased the property at 738 Garfield Avenue – formerly Steven’s Place and The Other Place comedy club – and is targeting a May opening for a new venue called Grand Traverse Event Center. According to Holli Shephard of Cold Water Development, the company plans to expand the parking lot, paint the building and update landscaping, as well as make a few interior renovations. “It’s beautiful inside, so we’ll be doing minor things like updating the bathrooms and getting new chairs and tables in,” she says.

Grand Traverse Event Center will be able to accommodate up to 298 people and will offer a liquor license for events such as parties, rehearsal dinners, reunions, and performances. Bookings are available at 231-645-4428.

Interlochen Golf Course/Bradley’s Pub & Grille
Brad Dean, director of golf at Crystal Mountain Resort for 23 years, is bringing his expertise to a new venture in Interlochen.

Dean purchased the Interlochen Golf Club on US-31 in September. In addition to renaming the facility Interlochen Golf Course, Dean is preparing a major renovation of the property’s clubhouse this winter with the goal of opening a year-round restaurant called Bradley’s Pub & Grille. The eatery will replace the former Hagen Room, which previously operated only during golf season.

“We’re planning to do a total makeover of the interior…it’ll be a sports-themed (restaurant), with sporting events and programs and live music,” Dean says. “I’m excited about making it a year-round presence.” Dean says the restaurant will open in late winter. As for the golf grounds, “it’s always been a great course, but we’re going to take the conditioning up a couple notches,” he says.

Center City Kitchen
A new incubator kitchen near the corner of Garfield Avenue and South Airport Road will host a grand opening party tonight (Tuesday) with food, drinks and live music.

Ryan and Meagan Wells are launching Center City Kitchen to “encourage entrepreneurship and stellar food production by offering an affordable shared commercial incubation kitchen with shared resources, support, and technical assistance.” Located at 767 Duell Road (Suite A), the kitchen offers up-and-coming chefs and restaurateurs a licensed commercial kitchen for prep, storage and food production at an all-inclusive rental rate of $400/month. An initial lineup of tenants includes Cordwood BBQ, Bayside Gatherings, Seafood Driven, Polyculture and The Sea Foam Candy Company.

The public can samples wares and tour the facility from 4:30-7pm tonight, with a ribbon cutting from 4:30-5pm. Area band Oh Brother Big Sister will play from 5-7pm.

Other Openings & Closings…
A new working artists studio, gallery space and teaching facility has opened on Old Mission Peninsula. Tinker Studio, located at 13795 Seven Hills Road (Suite D), is a “place to meet, make, learn and shop,” according to Creative Director Elizabeth Burbee. The company offers the works of local and national artists, letterpress cards, decorative and handmade papers, DIY supplies and artisan-made gifts.

Several business changes are underway in downtown Traverse City. Livnfresh has taken over the former Harbor Wear space at 125 East Front Street, offering Michigan-branded tees, hoodies and other “state pride wear.” Also in the 100 block, Lola’s owner Denise Leeds has formed a new partnership with former Posh owner Juliette Goodwin. The duo will collaborate on store merchandise, wih Goodwin opening a new sewing studio for alterations and custom work in the shop’s rear space.

Further down Front, retro arcade The Coin Slot has found a new home at 346 East Front Street #7 after closing down its Garland Street location. The new space – located in the lower level underneath Tee See Tee and Escape Salon – will open to the public December 1. Meanwhile, one block over, new donut shop Peace, Love & Little Donuts is planning to open “later next week” at 441 East Front Street, according to owner John Schnepf.

Finally, several changes are in store for holiday shoppers in the Grand Traverse Mall. Aeropostale has closed its doors, one of five stores in Michigan and 113 to close nationwide after the company declared bankruptcy in May. In the food court, Mackinaw City Popcorn Factory and AuSable River Smokehouse will both open new locations within the next two weeks, offering (respectively) nearly 50 flavors of popcorn and barbeque sandwiches and entrees. Clothing, jewelry and novelty gift shop Frannie’s Follies of Frankfort has launched a new store next to the food court, while H&R Block will open a new division in the Macy’s wing this month. A new stand from Ludington’s KRAVE Frozen Yogurt & Candy Shoppe will also join several “holiday merchandising units” opening for shoppers, according to PR representative Matthew Chudoba.