The former home of the Traverse City State Hospital, this 63-acre property is in the process of undergoing a major facelift to bring it back from the depths of depression. Touted as the nation's largest, historic preservation reclamation project of its kind, the Village at Grand Traverse Commons has been drawing visitors by the droves to boutique shops, galleries, wineries, cafes and farm-to-table restaurants now located in the castle-style complex.
On Saturdays throughout the winter, the brick-lined walkways of the Mercato bustle with visitors and local shopping at a weekly farmers market. The second floor of Building 50 houses offices and service businesses, like spas and fitness facilities; the upper floors showcase studio condos and half-million-dollar units.
What the developers didn’t bank on was how much interest there’d be in seeing what lies beneath and behind the buildings not yet renovated. Book early to reserve a spot on one of the $25, one-hour tours that focus not only on the renovation efforts, but also on the unusual history behind the building’s original design and operation. Along the way, you’ll get a rare chance to see the “Most Disturbed Women” ward, still mostly untouched, but slated for development as a senior housing complex.